I have written previously about companies, particularly on-line companies, that automatically renew persons’ subscriptions. It appears that the website www.classmates.com has a tremendous amount of consumer dissatisfaction with the way that it automatically renews memberships.
For those who do not know, www.classmates.com, which is now known as Memory Lane, allows members to reunite with people from their past. It seems as if many people were enticed to enroll in the membership program with a introductory offer of $9.99 for a year long membership, not knowing that at the end of that first year, the company would automatically renew the membership for another year at the new price of $39.00. It appears to be the case that many people who signed up for www.classmates.com were dissatisfied with the service and had no intention of renewing it, and were very surprised, even angered, when their bank account or credit card was charged $39 for another membership year.
The complaints that we have heard routinely claim that the members were provided with absolutely no notice that www.classmates.com was going to renew their membership for another year. People who complain are generally told that the company does not issue refunds, and are unable to get their money back even though they are no longer using the www.classmates.com service.
The policy of automatically renewing consumer subscriptions with out providing any notice to the consumer may be illegal. Many states have laws that require a company to provide notice to the consumer that his or her membership or subscription is being renewed. These states include Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. Although the laws in these states vary somewhat, generally they require that a company remind a consumer that it will be automatically renewing a membership, so that the consumer has the opportunity to cancel before another term of the membership or subscription starts. Thus, even though many companies like www.classmates.com have some language in their terms and conditions of service that state that unless the consumer takes steps to remove himself from the automatic renewal program or cancel, the consumer’s membership will automatically be renewed, that does not relieve the company of the requirement that some states have that a reminder notice of the automatic renewal be provided to the consumer.
If you, or someone you know, has been automatically renewed for a membership of www.classmates.com and would like to discuss your legals rights, please contact us.