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Time, Inc., Meredith Corp. Automatic Renewals California Class Action

This California class action takes up the problem of automatic renewals of subscriptions, which are increasingly common these days. The complaint alleges that when consumers bought magazine subscriptions, Time, Inc. and Meredith Corp. automatically enrolled them in future subscriptions without their consent.

The class for this action is all persons in California who, during the applicable statute of limitations, bought magazine subscriptions sold or marketed by Time or Meredith and who were automatically enrolled in future subscriptions without their consent.

Plaintiff Linda Hall came across an offer for a subscription to People Magazine at some point in 2017. The publisher of People is Time; the “magazine store” in which she found it was operated by Meredith. 

California has an Automatic Renewal Law which sets out requirements for automatic renewals or continuous service agreements. The law attempts to ensure that consumers know they are signing up for automatic renewals or continuous services, and it requires companies to provide them with clear ways to cancel subscriptions or services. The complaint alleges that Time and Meredith violated that law in several ways. 

  • When making the automatic renewal offer, they did not present its terms visually near the request for consent to the offer.
  • They charged consumers’ credit or debit cards or accounts without first getting their affirmative consent to the automatic renewal terms.
  • They did not provide an acknowledgement that included the automatic renewal terms, their cancellation policies, or instructions of cancelling, presented in a way that can easily be retained by the consumer. 
  • They did not give online purchasers at way to terminate the purchases online. 

In plaintiff Hall’s case, although the sequence of screens did mention automatic renewals, there was never a place where a consumer could refuse automatic renewals or give affirmative consent. Hall also got a notice of renewal thirty days before her subscription expired, but the complaint says that it did not provide any means for Hall to cancel online and so does not meet the law’ requirements. 

The California law provides something else: If businesses do not obey the provisions of the law, the things they are charging for become a gift to the consumer. The complaint says that “all magazines sent to Plaintiff and Class Members under the automatic renewal or continuous service agreements are deemed to be an unconditional gift without any obligation whatsoever on the part of the Plaintiff and Class Members…”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Time, Inc., Meredith Corp. Automatic Renewals California Complaint

June 10, 2019

This California class action takes up the problem of automatic renewals of subscriptions, which are increasingly common these days. The complaint alleges that when consumers bought magazine subscriptions, Time, Inc. and Meredith Corp. automatically enrolled them in future subscriptions without their consent.

time_meredith_ca_subscription_renewal_compl.pdf

Case Event History

Time, Inc., Meredith Corp. Automatic Renewals California Complaint

June 10, 2019

This California class action takes up the problem of automatic renewals of subscriptions, which are increasingly common these days. The complaint alleges that when consumers bought magazine subscriptions, Time, Inc. and Meredith Corp. automatically enrolled them in future subscriptions without their consent.

time_meredith_ca_subscription_renewal_compl.pdf
Tags: Deceptive Business Practices, Unlawful Subscription Renewal