A lawsuit against Internet-based firm Angie's List accuses the company of failing to properly announce an increase of its automatically-renewed membership fee, thereby knowingly defrauding its paying customers. Angie's List, which allows members to read and write reviews for local businesses, was founded in 1995 in Ohio and has since spread to all 50 states. It currently has approximately 1.4 million members and lists companies from 200 regional and local markets.
The plaintiff in this civil law case, who has paid for an annual Angie's List membership since 2007, has asked that the claim be granted class-action status. If the request is granted, Angie's List members in Ohio and across the United States could sign on as co-plaintiffs, potentially securing damages compensating them for the alleged fraud. It is still unclear if and when the lawsuit will be opened to additional plaintiffs. Ohio residents who believe they have been defrauded by Angie's List or any other company should contact an attorney to learn more about the legal options available to them.
The lawsuit concerns a change to Angie's List business model in 2010, when the company began offering a subscription bundle allowing customers to access business reviews in a number of different categories. The plaintiff claims the company automatically registered existing members for these bundles without informing them and failing to obtain consent despite the new service's increased price. A representative for the company did not comment on the accusations but announced that Angie's List would contest the charges in court.
The lawsuit argues that the defendant is guilty of deceptive practices, defrauding both current and potential members "through public statements and electronic transmissions conveying the false impression that new and renewing members are charged pursuant to an identical membership fee schedule."
Cases like this one, which allege knowing fraud of consumers, can be challenging to litigate. A qualified and experienced attorney can help to provide the consumers with a desirable result.
Source: Indy Star, "Angie's List lawsuit alleges memberships renewed at 'bundled' rate," Kristine Guerra, Oct. 9, 2012