Menu Locations
TMF - Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C.
Free Initial Consultations
Toll-free: TF 877-619-8966
California: CA 424-235-1148
Illinois: IL 312-292-9296
Ohio: OH 216-220-6496

Lawsuits claim automatic renewal charges are consumer fraud

A consumer problem exists in California and elsewhere over a questionable practice of websites that automatically charge a customer's card for renewing a subscription to a service at the expiration of the membership period. It may be included somewhere in the fine print of the company's terms and conditions that a service will automatically renew at the end of the term and the credit card charged appropriately. Nonetheless, that is not transparent enough for most consumers, and the practice has fueled the initiation of consumer fraud class actions against many automatic renewal practices.

The cases are being filed in a wide variety of contexts, and California has passed an automatic-renewal law to further specify situations that are considered unacceptable and anti-consumer in nature. The California law and others around the nation provide the consumer a certain level of protection. It is illegal for a company to use automatic renewal procedures without first obtaining express consent from a customer prior to charging the customer's credit card.

Cases were filed in California against Spotify, Hulu, Dropbox, LifeLock and several other companies using aggressive renewal policies. All revenues collected by the company must be returned to customers under the demands of most of these lawsuits. Some of the class actions have been dismissed due to arbitration provisions in the company's terms and conditions; these were sent to private arbitration pursuant to the terms and conditions.

The case against LifeLock was settled and court-approved in July 2015. All such cases seek to certify a class of customers who were charged automatically for renewals in violation of state laws and on the basis of consumer fraud allegations. The California ARL requires the company to disclose the automatic renewal terms and to obtain express consent from a customer before a charge can be made. It seems like a small sacrifice for a company to simply send specific notice requesting approval each time a subscription is about to expire. However, many companies have taken in tens of millions in renewal fees without providing disclosure, and they may turn out to be reluctant followers of the new laws being passed.

Source:, "Websites' automatic renewal policies can lead to trouble", Joshua Briones, Crystal Lopez and Lauren Miller, March 11, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

When You've Had Enough, Contact Us For A Free Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Get An Attorney Response

Headquartered in Beverly Hills, we accept cases throughout California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia

Schedule a Free Consultation:
Toll Free: 877-619-8966
| Local: 424-235-1148 |
Fax: 866-633-0228
| Email Our Firm

  • Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C.
    324 S Beverly Blvd, Suite 725
    Beverly Hills, CA 90212

    (Mailing Address Only)

  • Orange County Office
    1851 E First St, Suite 918
    Santa Ana, CA 92705
    Map & Directions

  • Woodland Hills Office
    21550 Oxnard St
    Suite 780
    Woodland Hills, CA 91367
    Map & Directions

  • King of Prussia Office
    1150 First Ave., Suite 501
    King of Prussia, PA 19406
    Map & Directions

  • Chicago Office
    333 Skokie Blvd., Suite 103
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    Phone: 312-292-9296
    Map & Directions

  • Ohio/West Virginia Office
    Fifth Third Building, 600 Superior Avenue East,
    Suite 1300, Cleveland, OH 44114
    Phone: 216-220-6496
    Map & Directions