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Does AARP’s “Lifetime” Membership Expire Before You Do?

What does “lifetime” mean to you?  If you’re talking about your own, at least, one would think the definition should be entirely clear.   Apparently it is not so obvious to the AARP.   

Since 1958, the AARP has been dedicated to improving and advocating on behalf of the lives of senior citizens.  Advantages of joining the AARP include access to discounts, benefits and special products, including health care insurance.  These benefits are only available to AARP members, however, and membership isn’t free.  According to the AARP website, one year of membership costs $16, three years costs $43, and a five-year membership is available for $63.  These are the only advertised options. 

But there is another option which, for some reason, you won’t find on the AARP website.  For $200, you can sign up as a “lifetime” member.  To buy this “lifetime” option, you have to call and ask about it, and that begs the question why.  One answer may be found in the scores of seniors who have complained that the “lifetime” memberships they purchased from the AARP in the 1990s actually expired in 2007.  These trusting seniors purchased “lifetime” memberships for around $50 and expected (and who wouldn’t?) that they were, in fact, paying for membership for the balance of their lifetimes.  The AARP apparently thought otherwise, sending out “expiration” notices in 2007, and encouraging them to “renew.”  This isn’t the only conduct complained about.  Other AARP members who purchased memberships of otherwise definite durations have complained that they were sent renewal notices years before their memberships were due to expire.  Again, if true, these practices suggest that the AARP is either highly disorganized, or worse.  Regardless, it doesn’t seem like a fair way to treat our seniors, especially from an organization founded on the notion of trust. 

Meiselman, Packman, Carton & Eberz P.C. is actively investigating the membership renewal practices of the AARP.  If you purchased a lifetime membership and were subsequently notified that your membership expired, or if you have been subjected to any other unfair practices with regard to your AARP membership, we’d like to hear from you.