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AOL Hacked E-Mail Recovery Class Action

This class action alleges that when users of AOL e-mail have had their accounts hacked and files are subsequently lost, the company has offered those customers paid membership services on a free 30-day trial basis as a means to help them recover the missing data, only to delay the promised assistance until monthly charges become applicable under the agreement.

Defendant AOL is a mass media corporation that develops, grows, and invests in brands and websites. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was a user of AOL e-mail services when his account was hacked in December of 2014. 

During the time period immediately following the e-mail hacking event, the plaintiff lost a large percentage of his e-mail files, including saved messages, sent messages and draft e-mails. Upon realizing the extent of the lost data, the plaintiff contacted AOL for help in retrieving the files. He specifically referenced the need to obtain important information previously saved in the Drafts folder. AOL representatives advised him that he would need to purchase a paid membership in order to receive critical assistance in recovering his lost data.

When the plaintiff appeared reluctant to purchase the membership, the representative of the company assured him that there was no risk involved, since the first 30 days of the membership would come at no charge. Upon hearing this, the plaintiff agreed to purchase the membership, doing so in the belief that his data would be recovered upon its activation on December 16, 2014. 

Soon after the commencement of the membership, the plaintiff noticed a file named Recovered in his e-mail folders, which included many of his missing messages. However, the important draft emails remained missing. Two weeks passed without any additional progress on retrieval of the draft messages. On December 28, the plaintiff informed AOL that the messages had not yet been recovered. Despite this fact, AOL began charging him monthly membership fees.

The plaintiff regularly checked to see if the missing draft e-mails ever appeared in the Recovered folder, though it was not until September of 2015 that a second Recovered folder containing those messages was made available to him. Once he obtained this data, the plaintiff canceled his monthly AOL membership.

It is now alleged that AOL violated Maryland's Consumer Protection Act by misleading the plaintiff and similarly situated members of the proposed class into believing that they could recover lost e-mail data at no cost during the initial free trial period of their AOL membership. AOL's misrepresentations concerning when the data would be retrieved allegedly caused the plaintiff and others actual damages and frustration because they were continuously billed for services they did not receive.

The plaintiff also alleges breach of contract on the part of AOL in that it did not immediately retrieve lost e-mail data upon commencement of the membership, as promised by its representative. According to the complaint, AOL's breach was willful because the company intended to first collect several months' worth of membership fees before endeavoring to retrieve lost e-mail files.

For these reasons, the plaintiff is seeking a permanent injunction requiring AOL to cease offering membership services with the intent of not providing the promised services, an award of compensatory and actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees and costs associated with bringing suit.

 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

AOL Hacked E-Mail Recovery Complaint

October 6, 2015

The complaint for this class action alleges that when users of AOL e-mail have had their accounts hacked and files are subsequently lost, the company has offered those customers paid membership services on a free 30-day trial basis as a means to help them recover the missing data, only to delay the promised assistance until monthly charges become applicable under the agreement.

aol_hacking_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

AOL Hacked E-Mail Recovery Complaint

October 6, 2015

The complaint for this class action alleges that when users of AOL e-mail have had their accounts hacked and files are subsequently lost, the company has offered those customers paid membership services on a free 30-day trial basis as a means to help them recover the missing data, only to delay the promised assistance until monthly charges become applicable under the agreement.

aol_hacking_complaint.pdf
Tags: Deceptive Online Services, Online Subscription Fees, Unfair Services, Your Privacy