Deceptive Billing Practices


The Lyon Firm is actively involved in Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuits on behalf of consumers nationwide
Nationwide Success

Consumer Fraud Lawyer

unlawful autorenewal payment, deceptive billing fraud, and recurring charges

Deceptive billing lawsuits have been filed in recent years when companies engage in illegal subscription autorenewal and recurring payment schemes. Consumer protection attorneys are concerned that billing fraud, in the form of unauthorized charges and billing auto-renewal, are on the rise.

Subscription autorenewal billing fraud is not new, but the practice is still largely possible due to the lack of consumer protection laws on the books. There are some state statutes that exist (namely California), and the Federal Trade Commission has been enforcing federal regulations, but most consumers still wind up on the losing end.

If you have been a victim of deceptive billing fraud due to illegal recurring payments, unauthorized charges or unlawful auto renewals, contact The Lyon Firm to investigate your claim.

Joe Lyon is a class action consumer protection attorney filing billing fraud and recurrent payment complaints on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide.

Subscription Auto Renewal & Recurrent Payments

Automatic renewals of online services, apps and other subscriptions are  extremely commonplace, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are all legal. Deceptive billing practices can leave consumers extremely irritated and out of hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges. The huge loss of time spent canceling some services is alone worthy of compensation.

Some companies have a business model that is inherently fraudulent, and aim to deceive consumers with “no payment” offers that are often too good to be true. Companies may intentionally fail to clearly disclose automatic renewal charges, and often hide recurrent charges in fine print.

As it stands, consumers who may intend for merely a one-time purchase or free trial promotion are suddenly facing months or a full year of unauthorized charges.

To be clear, written consent is required for auto-renewal, but companies prey on consumers who are unlikely to read a very lengthy agreement, and simply enter a credit card number when prompted. When it comes to canceling the subscription, more headaches are typically waiting for the consumer. Unlawful cancellation processes are also very common.

Deceptive Billing Lawsuits

The home care worker website Care.com was sued for allegedly not adequately disclosing that paid memberships were sold on an automatically renewing basis, did not obtain customers’ affirmative consent to the autorenewal terms, and did not provide a simple way to stop the recurring charges.

The company behind the Bumble dating app settled a $22.5 million lawsuit to resolve allegations that it violated consumer protection laws by improperly autorenewing subscriptions without consent.

Another class action lawsuit alleged that Ancestry.com failed to adequately disclose their autorenewal membership fees and did not obtain consent to the automatic charges.

billing fraud and deceptive billing schemes

Billing Fraud Laws

The Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) requires companies who automatically bill customers for products or services on a recurring basis to clearly disclose the terms of the offer, obtain consumers’ consent, and provide customers with a simple cancellation mechanism. State laws vary but also generally require companies to provide pre-purchase disclosures and autorenewal notifications.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal agency tasked with regulating billing fraud and illegal auto-renewal practices. Charges and fines have been laid on companies who offer bogus “free” trial memberships and trick consumers into paying for multiple months of a service they do not want or will not use.

A California law requires companies to present automatic renewal terms in a clear and conspicuous manner before the purchasing agreement is completed. What is clear and conspicuous? Clear and conspicuous means in larger or contrasting type than the surrounding text, or set off from the surrounding text of the same size that clearly calls attention to the language.

If the offer includes a free gift or trial, the offer must include a clear explanation of the price that will be charged after the trial ends.

A consumer’s consent to the automatic renewal terms is required. The cancellation policy must be clear and easy, and the company must provide a toll-free telephone number, e-mail address, and postal address.

They must allow the consumer who accepts an online automatic renewal to terminate exclusively online.

Several other states are currently considering bills that would enact or expand on an automatic renewal law (ARL). One proposed statute makes it necessary for companies to provide an explanation on how to cancel their membership at least 3 days and at most 7 days before the expiration of a trial period. If the cancellation notice is sent electronically, the bill requires a link that directs the consumer to the cancellation process.

Be Wary of Recurrent Charges

Consumers should look beyond the surface level of all promotions, and take a second look at any subscription that is listed as a “trial” or “free.”

One of the more common illegal billing practices is when a company does not clearly disclose automatic charges when a trial period ends. Many companies also fail to provide an easy and clear way to cancel their online subscription. Any convoluted, confusing, and unnecessarily lengthy cancellation process may be a federal consumer protection violation.

What types of companies offer illegal auto-renewal and recurrent billing?

  • Health Insurance
  • Mobile phone
  • Health apps
  • Gaming apps
  • News sites
  • Dating sites
  • Many other online services

The American consumer has the right to privacy, fair and lawful business practices, and safe consumer products. When companies place profit before the safety of the consumer, and engage in deceptive billing practices, and violate consumer protection laws, they may be held liable in consumer fraud and consumer protection class action lawsuits.

The Lyon Firm represents plaintiffs in a wide variety of consumer protection class action litigation, and settles cases for clients on a contingency basis.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated consumer fraud attorney representing plaintiffs nationwide in individual claims and consumer protection class action lawsuits.

CONTACT THE LYON FIRM TODAY

Please complete the form below for a FREE consultation.

ABOUT THE LYON FIRM

Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.

NO COST UNLESS WE WIN

The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

photo of consumer fraud attorney Joe Lyon
Class Action Litigation

Why File A Consumer Fraud Case?

Without consumer fraud class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.

CONTACT THE LYON FIRM TODAY

Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuits

Why File a Class Action?

Class Actions are typically filed when the amount of money in dispute for a single plaintiff would not justify the expense of litigating the case, but where the amount of damages of the entire class of Plaintiffs would justify the cost of litigation.

Moreover, without class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of penalty.

What are some examples of Consumer fraud lawsuits?

Some recent class action lawsuits that The Lyon Firm investigates include unlawful marketing, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and elder abuse. 

do i have a viable fraud claim?

If you have lost out financially, or have experienced corporate fraud, you may think about contacting an attorney to investigate further. If you represent a class of plaintiffs in a fraud claim, you will not only be protecting consumers but will be able to seek compensation for various damages. 

Consumer Rights & Justice

Understanding Consumer Fraud Lawsuits

Filing a Consumer Fraud lawsuit is a complex and serious legal course and can carry monetary sanctions if the proper legal process is not followed. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to assisting plaintiffs work toward a financial solution.

We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your case into a valuable settlement. The current legal environment is favorable for consumers involved in data breach class actions, deceptive marketing lawsuits, TCPA telemarketing claims, financial negligence, and various fraud claims.

consumer fraud attorney

Consumer Fraud Settlements

We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your consumer fraud case into a valuable settlement. 

Direct Buy Settlement

$6,000,000

(United States District Court for Connecticut)

Direct Buy

The Lyon Firm represented the primary class representative and participated in the Class Action alleging Direct Buy’s Accredited Partner plan was false and misleading due to a “kickback” program that was undisclosed. 

Direct Buy resolved the case denying all allegations.  The settlement covered class members who were members during the class period. 

Consumer Protection Class Action

Consumers have rights in the USA, and when companies do not provide a service they have promised, or hold up their end of a bargain, legal action may be necessary. Consumer protection attorneys work on your behalf to hold companies responsible for providing a fair and safe service.

The Lyon Firm has worked with law firms nationwide in consumer class actions involving deceptive marketing, false advertising, food mislabeling and misleading marketing claims.


© 2020 The Lyon Firm. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED