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Universal Screen Arts Automatic Renewal California Class Action

Universal Screen Arts, Inc. owns multiple companies with online e-commerce websites, including Acorn, Bas Bleu, Daedalus Books, Signals, Support Plus, and What on Earth. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the websites entraps customers into a difficult-to-cancel automatic renewal membership that comes with a monthly charge of $14.95.

The class for this action is all persons in California who were charged for a VIP Insider Membership.

When customers order items at one of the Universal websites, they are presented with an offer of free shipping. However, this is not truly “free” because accepting the offer enrolls them in a
“VIP Insider” membership that comes with a seven-day free trial and then charges them $14.95 per month on an ongoing basis.

The complaint alleges that “when enrolling consumers into the free trial of the VIP Insider membership, Universal fails to clearly and conspicuously disclose the terms of the membership including that there is any charge associated with the membership, let alone that it will automatically renew on a monthly basis.”

That’s not all, the complaint claims: once the customer is enrolled, they will not find it easy to cancel, because “Universal does not offer a timely and easy-to-use mechanism for cancelling the membership, leading to repeat and ongoing unauthorized charges.”

These things are against the California Automatic Renewal Law, the complaint alleges. The ARL requires that companies that want to make an automatic renewal offer must do at least three things, the complaint says, quoting the law:

They must present the terms of the offer “in a clear and conspicuous manner before the subscription or purchasing agreement is fulfilled and in visual proximity … to the request for consent to the offer.” If it includes a free gift or trial, it must include an explanation of the price that will be charged when the trial ends or how the pricing will change at the end of the trial.

It must obtain the consumers’ affirmative consent to the agreement containing the terms of the offer before charging the consumers’ credit or debit cards or accounts.

It must provide an acknowledgement that includes the offer’s terms, cancellation policy, and information about how to cancel, in a way that can be retained by consumers. If the offer includes a free gift or trial, it must tell the consumers how to cancel—and allow the consumer to cancel—before the consumer begins paying for the goods or services.

The complaint alleges that Universal misleads customers by misleading customers, not following the requirements of the ARL, and not providing clear and conspicuous information.

Under the ARL, the automatic renewal offer must also contain certain disclosures and contains other provisions, including that customers must be able to stop the automatic renewals online at the website.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer, News

Most Recent Case Event

Universal Screen Arts Automatic Renewal California Complaint

March 26, 2021

Universal Screen Arts, Inc. owns multiple companies with online e-commerce websites, including Acorn, Bas Bleu, Daedalus Books, Signals, Support Plus, and What on Earth. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the websites entraps customers into a difficult-to-cancel automatic renewal membership that comes with a monthly charge of $14.95.

Universal Screen Arts Automatic Renewal California Complaint

Case Event History

Universal Screen Arts Automatic Renewal California Complaint

March 26, 2021

Universal Screen Arts, Inc. owns multiple companies with online e-commerce websites, including Acorn, Bas Bleu, Daedalus Books, Signals, Support Plus, and What on Earth. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the websites entraps customers into a difficult-to-cancel automatic renewal membership that comes with a monthly charge of $14.95.

Universal Screen Arts Automatic Renewal California Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Unlawful Subscription Renewal