The lawsuit contended that the matchmaking service was renewing customer subscriptions to the website without giving proper notification to customers. This opaque subscription fee policy led to additional and unexpected charges for users. The lawsuit alleged that the company had failed to fully explain the charges for its recurring subscription service and had failed to adequately disclose its cancellation policies. It was brought by district attorneys from four Northern California Counties including, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, and Napa.
Deputy District Attorney, Jennifer Deng, said that online companies offering contracts or subscriptions still need to inform consumers of their rights and how much they are charging for their services. In a news release DA Deng stated, “Companies need to make sure that their customers know exactly what they are paying for, what their rights are, and how often they will be charged." In other words, online companies are required to be upfront about their billing practices and need to explain said pricing and fees.
eHarmony has also set aside an extra $1 million for restitution to California users who are presently, or were enrolled in automatic billing subscriptions. These users have already been notified that they are entitled to compensation under the settlement agreement.
In the settlement agreement, the company did not admit to any wrongdoing, but stated that it has taken steps in order to correct any violations. Automatic renewal of contracts for goods or services without a customer’s explicit consent is illegal in the state of California. Furthermore, many states including California have consumer protection laws set up to safeguard against aggressive business behavior. Such consumer protection laws include informing customers of their right to cancel a subscription within 3 days.
This is not the only lawsuit that the company is facing. Across the Atlantic, in Great Britain, the nation’s Advertising Standards Authority announced that it was banning an advertisement placed by the company inside of London’s subway platforms. The advertisement in question is apparently misleading as it reads "Step aside, fate. It's time science had a go at love." The Advertising Standards Authority seems to be questioning the “scientific” component of the company’s matchmaking services.
If you believe you have suffered from fraudulent behavior by a company or corporation, you may be entitled to a monetary award for damages.