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The Athletic Automatic Subscription Renewals North Carolina Class Action

The Athletic Media Company publishes The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website that covers forty-seven US cities and the UK. But the complaint for this class action alleges that subscribers to The Athletic are automatically enrolled in an auto-renewal program that keeps renewing their subscriptions from month to month or year to year without providing required disclosures and authorizations under North Carolina law.

The class for this action is all persons in North Carolina who, within the applicable statutes of limitations, up to and including the date of final judgment in this case, were charged renewal fees in connection with a subscription to The Athletic.

Customers who subscribe to The Athletic must give the company their billing information. According to the complaint, the company then automatically renews their subscriptions on a month to month or year to year basis, which results in continuing charges to their credit card, debit card, or other payment account. The complaint alleges that the company “is able to unilaterally charge its customers renewal fees without their consent, as it is in possessionof its customers’ payment information.

Under North Carolina law, companies may sign customers up for products or services than automatically renew, but the complaint claims they must do certain things:

They must disclose the automatic renewal clause clearly and conspicuously in the offer or contract.

They must disclose clearly and conspicuously how to cancel, in the initial contract, offer, or with the delivery of the products and services.

For automatic renewals for longer than sixty days, they must give the consumer written notice, by personal delivery, email, or first-class mail, at least fifteen days, but no longer than forty-five days, before the automatic renewal date, telling the customer the contract will renew unless it is cancelled before that date.

If the terms of the contract will change at the time of renewal, they must disclose the changing terms clearly and conspicuously on the notification in at least 12-point type and in bold characters.

The complaint alleges that the automatic renewals for The Athletic do not meet the second and third of these requirements.

The complaint includes screenshots of the sign-up page at the company’s website and of a screen of the mobile app offering a free trial with the automatic renewal information in a tiny font.

According to the complaint, the company violates the law “by (i) failing to disclose clearly and conspicuously how to cancel the contract in the initial contract, and [] (ii) for yearly subscriptions, by failing to provide written notice to the consumer at least fifteen days before the contract is to be renewed.”

The complaint therefore alleges that “the automatic renewal is rendered void and unenforceable.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

The Athletic Automatic Subscription Renewals North Carolina Complaint

January 6, 2022

The Athletic Media Company publishes The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website that covers forty-seven US cities and the UK. But the complaint for this class action alleges that subscribers to The Athletic are automatically enrolled in an auto-renewal program that keeps renewing their subscriptions from month to month or year to year without providing required disclosures and authorizations under North Carolina law.

The Athletic Automatic Subscription Renewals North Carolina Complaint

Case Event History

The Athletic Automatic Subscription Renewals North Carolina Complaint

January 6, 2022

The Athletic Media Company publishes The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website that covers forty-seven US cities and the UK. But the complaint for this class action alleges that subscribers to The Athletic are automatically enrolled in an auto-renewal program that keeps renewing their subscriptions from month to month or year to year without providing required disclosures and authorizations under North Carolina law.

The Athletic Automatic Subscription Renewals North Carolina Complaint
Tags: Automatic Subscription Renewal or Continuous Service Agreement, Unfair Subscription Practices