Albuquerque Journal Subscription Auto Renewal Investigation
The Lyon Firm is investigating potentially illegal automatic renewal schemes and deceptive billing practices on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide. If you have questions about an auto-renewal of your Albuquerque Journal subscription, contact The Lyon Firm to review.
Deceptive billing schemes have become a frequent complaint for consumers across the country. Many modern business models rely on auto renewal contracts and companies feed on this continual cash flow. These companies are quick to charge you for a service, but they may be overlooking consumer protection laws that make them liable for deceptive billing violations. If you have encountered subscription issues, contact us for a free consultation.
Online automatic renewal programs are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA), which requires clear disclosures of contract terms, informed consent before a purchase, and an easy method to cancel the charges. Violations of this law are regarded as unfair or deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Joe Lyon is a class action consumer fraud lawyer investigating Albuquerque Journal subscription auto-renewal claims, and other deceptive billing practice complaints for plaintiffs nationwide.
What Are the Requirements for Proper Auto-Renewal?
To be clear, entities like the Albuquerque Journal can legally automatically renew subscriptions if they make all terms clear and obtain your written consent. Too often, however, companies rely on customer confusion, deliberately bypass these requirements and violate consumer fraud statutes.
There are specific components that must be included in subscription automatic renewal contracts:
- Clear disclosures about the offer: Companies must present the terms of any automatic renewal offer “clearly and conspicuously.”
- Disclosures about the contract period: The contract period must be clearly presented prior to a consumer purchase.
- Obtaining consent: Consent must be “express” and “informed.” Written consent is voluntarily given by a competent individual after details of the offer have been disclosed.
- Written confirmation following a purchase: Written acknowledgment must be given to the customer after a purchase, and must include the initial disclosures, and specific information on how to cancel. If a free trial is offered, this must also include details on how to cancel the subscription before being charged.
- Cancellation mechanisms must be simple: Methods to cancel a subscription must be cost-effective, timely, and easy.
- Renewal reminders must be timely: These vary by state, but companies should send proper notice to customers before their subscription is automatically renewed.
Albuquerque Journal: What are Automatic Renewal Law Violations?
There have been allegations that the Albuquerque Journal may not entirely comply with state Automatic Renewal Laws, and may be liable for relevant violations. State law states the following:
It is an unfair or deceptive trade practice for any consumer service contract to contain an automatic renewal provision unless the contract provision is set forth in a clear and conspicuous manner in at least 10 point type and includes the notice requirements and specific procedure by which the consumer may cancel the contract at the end of the initial contract term and the terms of the automatic renewal in the event that notice of cancellation is not given at the end of the initial contract term; It is an unfair or deceptive trade practice for any consumer service contract to contain an automatic renewal provision unless the seller provides the consumer written notice prior to the end of the initial term of the contract or prior to the end of any renewal term of the contract consistent with Subsection (C) of 184.108.40.206 NMAC herein; It is an unfair and deceptive trade practice for any service contract that contains an automatic renewal provision to: (1) fail fail to provide written notice to the consumer specifying the procedure by which the consumer may cancel the contract and set forth in a clear and conspicuous manner, in at least 10 point type, and served on the consumer either by certified mail or on the first page of a monthly statement at least 30 days before the last day on which the consumer may give notice of the consumer’s intention to terminate the contract, but not sooner than 60 days before the last day on which the consumer may give notice; (2) fail to allow a minimum of thirty (30) calendar days after the receipt of the seller’s notice pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection C of 220.127.116.11 NMAC herein for the consumer to give notice of the consumer’s intent to terminate the contract at the end of the initial term or at the end of any additional renewal term; (3) fail to honor a written notice sent via fax, U.S. mail, email or any other means upon which a consumer can reasonably rely to deliver such notice and postmarked, time stamped or otherwise electronically date stamped within the 30 calendar days provided for the consumer to give notice; (4)fail to honor a written notice timely sent, mailed, emailed or otherwise transmitted in a manner upon which the consumer can reasonably rely to deliver such notice but received by the seller after the expiration of the notice period; (5)fail to allow termination of the contract at the end of the initial term or at the end of any additional renewal term without additional cost or penalty.
Can I File a Lawsuit for Deceptive Billing Practices?
Albuquerque Journal subscribers who have been unwittingly entered into an automatic renewal agreement should contact a consumer fraud attorney and consider taking legal action. The Lyon Firm believes that companies that mislead their customers into agreements should be held liable and compensate customers for any violations.
You may ask yourself the following questions before contacting an attorney:
- Are your subscription terms and conditions clear and conspicuous?
- Did the company clearly explain their automatic renewal program?
- Does the company have clear instructions on how to cancel a subscription?
- Did the company obtain your affirmative consent before charging you for the product or service?
- Did the company give you proper notice (30-60 days) before your subscription contract was renewed?
Multiple states have updated consumer protection laws that prohibit companies from automatically renewing subscriptions without obtaining proper consent or clearly explaining the terms and conditions of the contract. Federal laws also protect consumers. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), businesses must take proper steps to ensure that charges to customers’ credit cards and accounts are authorized.
Any violations of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act by the Albuquerque Journal or another subscription-based entity may constitute an unlawful practice and affected individuals can contact an attorney to consider seeking compensation and justice.