Consumers have come to enjoy the convenience of subscription services. From software to food, to streaming platforms and more, we buy numerous products and services on simple subscription programs that offer exactly what we need with minimal effort and at manageable costs. As attractive as these services may be, they are very often renewed automatically, meaning that the subscription and the accompanying fee will continue even after the customer doesn’t particularly want them anymore. This renewal usually comes at a higher fee than was initially offered. As a result of this practice, there has been a rise in class action lawsuits against companies that engage in it. Here is what you need to know, as a consumer, about auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuits.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit
Class action lawsuits can be brought against any company for a wide variety of reasons. The difference between a normal lawsuit and a class action lawsuit is that, in the latter, a group of plaintiffs collectively sue a company over the same or similar issues. In the case of subscriptions, these issues could include unfair fees, unexpected or unauthorized charges, renewal of the subscription without the customer’s consent, lack of clarity about renewal policies, and more.
Examples of Auto-Renewing Subscription Lawsuits
Although the subscription model is increasingly popular across a range of industries and services, the tendency of businesses to auto-renew subscription services has proven to be frustrating to many consumers. As a result, a number of class action lawsuits have been brought against some very high-profile service providers.
There is currently an ongoing class action against Spotify after it was alleged that the streaming service did not adequately disclose the terms of its free trial offer. The offer automatically converted to a paid subscription at the end of the trial. The plaintiffs then complained that they found it difficult to cancel the subscription once it had automatically started. This case is ongoing, and Spotify is fighting the allegations, claiming that it has done nothing wrong.
Another example is the case of Blue Apron. The meal delivery service was accused of automatically renewing customer subscriptions without their consent, and without giving adequate notice. As with Spotify, Blue Apron denies any wrongdoing, and the case is still ongoing.
In fact, many major corporations have faced allegations of illegal actions in regard to auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuits. Amazon and Netflix have both faced complaints regarding their subscription streaming services, and the former has also had complaints regarding its e-book and audiobook subscriptions.
Advice for Consumers
Auto-renewals are sometimes done without giving the customer proper notice. At other times, however, the company may offer notice at sign-up and even include a clause in its initial service contract. It is very important that consumers pay close attention to what they are agreeing to when signing a trial offer or even buying a full subscription.
Read all the terms of the subscription contract carefully and ensure that you understand them, before signing up. Read the fine print and be sure to actively check what renewal policy is specified. If you end up facing any issues with regard to auto-renewing subscriptions, contact the company and query it. It is always best to resolve the issue directly before considering legal action.
If you are eligible to join a class action with regard to auto-renewal, you may be entitled to a share of the ultimate settlement or judgment.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I know if I am eligible to join an auto-renewal subscription class action?
If you have experienced the frustration of a subscription being auto-renewed without your consent, and you think you have a case on the basis of the agreement and its terms, the best thing to do is contact a class action lawyer involved with ongoing cases against companies who are engaging in auto-renewal practices. The auto-renewing subscription class action lawyer will assess the specifics of your case and let you know if you are eligible to join.
Do I need a lawyer to be part of a class action?
No, you don’t need to hire a lawyer if you want to join a class action. However, it is advisable that you do hire one. A lawyer will help you understand your rights and the legal process. Your lawyer will also be able to assess the merits of your case and construct a viable argument on your behalf.
What happens if the class action is successful?
If the court finds that the service provider did not act in accordance with the law when renewing your subscription (as well as that of all or some of the other plaintiffs), it will usually order the company to pay damages to the members of the class. The company may also be ordered to change its business practices so as never to commit the same infringement again.
What kinds of allegations are most commonly raised in auto-renewing subscription class actions?
The most common allegations in these cases include unexpected charges, lack of clear disclosure about the renewal policy, unauthorized renewal, and difficulty canceling the subscription.
What are some examples of companies that have been named in auto-renewing class action lawsuits?
Some examples of well-known companies that have faced allegations of unfair auto-renewing subscription practices are Spotify, Netflix, Adobe, Amazon and Microsoft.
How can I protect myself from auto-renewing subscription issues?
Always be sure to read the fine print in subscription contracts and understand the terms of a free trial. If you do not wish the subscription to continue, make sure to cancel it before the trial period ends.
Who is eligible to join an auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuit?
Anyone who has had a subscription renewed and has had to pay the resulting charges, without due consent and notice, and meets the criteria outlined in the lawsuit, can typically join an auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuit.
What should I do if I want to cancel an auto-renewing subscription?
Contact the company and follow the instructions provided for cancellation. Always keep records of your correspondence with the service provider.
How do I know if I am part of an auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuit?
You may receive an email or mail notification to inform you that you are part of an ongoing class action lawsuit. You can also search online to see if a class action lawsuit has been filed against a company you have a subscription with. You could also contact a lawyer and see if your case makes you eligible to join any ongoing auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuits.
What kind of compensation could I get if I am part of a successful auto-renewing class action lawsuit?
The compensation that is awarded to the plaintiffs depends on the specifics of the case. It may include a refund for the unauthorized renewal fee, or a credit toward future subscriptions. Read the details of the lawsuit to understand what compensation is offered, or speak to your lawyer.
How long does it take to resolve an auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuit?
There is no set time limit for any lawsuit, including this type of class action. It can take several months or a few years, depending on the complexity of the case.
What happens to the money awarded in an auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuit?
Any money awarded when a case is resolved is generally distributed among the members of the class who have submitted the complaints against the company.
Hire Shamis & Gentile, P.A
Consumers have the right to hold companies accountable for their actions. If a service provider renews your subscription without your consent, and without due legal provision and notice, you can seek legal assistance and demand compensation from the subscription service.
Shamis & Gentile, P.A. provides outstanding legal services in Florida and New York. We distinguish ourselves because of our experience and resources, which we combine to handle any kind of case involving personal injury, personal injury protection, and class actions/mass tort, among others. We are currently accepting eligible individuals who have complaints against subscription services to join ongoing auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuits against several high-profile service providers. If you believe you have a case, don’t hesitate to contact us today and book a consultation with an auto-renewing subscription class action lawsuit lawyer.