Our State Magazine – North Carolina – Subscription Auto Renewal
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 Our State 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 Our State 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 Our State 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.
Our State Magazine: What are Automatic Renewal Law Violations?
There have been allegations that Our State Magazine may not entirely comply with state Automatic Renewal Laws, and may be liable for relevant violations. State law requires the following:
A person selling or leasing products or services to a consumer where the contract automatically renews unless the consumer cancels the contract must: (i) disclose the automatic renewal clause clearly and conspicuously in the contract or contract offer; (ii) disclose clearly and conspicuously how to cancel the initial contract, contract offer, or with delivery of products or services; and (iii) for any automatic renewal exceeding 60 days, provide written notice to the consumer by personal delivery, electronic mail, or first class mail, for at least 15 days but no earlier than 45 days before the date the contract is to be automatically renewed: (i) stating the date on which the contract is scheduled to automatically review; and (ii) notifying the consumer that the contract will automatically renew unless it is canceled by the consumer prior to that date. If the terms of the contract will change upon the automatic renewal of the contract, disclose the changing term of the contract clearly and conspicuously on the notification i at least 12 point type and in the bold print.
Can I File a Lawsuit for Deceptive Billing Practices?
Our State Magazine 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 Our State or another subscription-based entity may constitute an unlawful practice and affected individuals can contact an attorney to consider seeking compensation and justice.