Starz Entertainment is facing a class action lawsuit alleging the company falsely advertises its “7-day free trial” subscription and wrongfully renews customers’ subscriptions without proper notification.
Starz, a popular premium video content provider, advertises on both its website and app: “7-day free trial. No commitment. Cancel Anytime.” But, plaintiff Tawanna Roberts is taking issue with this alleged false advertising scheme, filing the Starz class action lawsuit in December in New York federal court. She says that Starz lures consumers into signing up for its supposedly “free 7-day trial” but then makes it difficult or impossible to cancel the “free trial”, causing customers to pay for a service they never wanted to pay for.
The 17-page complaint details the sign-up process for the Starz “7-day free trial”, noting there is a quick two-step sign up process, but that Starz never requires customer to view or knowingly consent to any contract during the process.
Instead, it asks customer to only create an account and enter payment information in order to start a free trial. Once a customer signs up for the “7-day free trial”, Starz sends an email stating: “Your credit card will be billed $8.99 when your trial expires on [date]. Please keep this email for your records. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your purchase.”
Specifically, Roberts claims she tried to cancel her Starz “7-day free trial” on September 5, just two days after signing up. However, Roberts contends Starz ignored her cancellation request and without prior notification, charged her $8.99 for a one month subscription. Despite her repeated requests to cancel her service since September, Starz has continued to charge her on monthly basis.
According to the Starz false advertising class action lawsuit, Roberts experience is not an isolated event. Dozens of consumers have voiced their complaints regarding the Starz free trial scam on social media sites and online forums. Many of these consumer complaints echo Roberts’ experience with not being able to cancel their “7-day free trial” subscription and that they are also being billed continually by Starz.
“Starz does not provide customers with easy-to-use mechanisms for cancellation, such as toll-free telephone numbers or email addresses. Worse, the mechanisms it does provide are essentially useless for the purpose of cancelling a trial subscription.”
Moreover, the Starz class action lawsuit contends that Starz repeatedly renews subscriptions on a monthly basis, without ever notifying customers prior to each renewal, which it automatically charges to the credit card on file. This violates New York’s law on automatic renewals.
Roberts is seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers who signed up for “7-day free trial” and who cancelled their subscription on or before the 7th day of the trial. The class action lawsuit also seeks to include a New York Free Trial subclass and a New York Automatic Renewal subclass.
Along with an award of actual and treble damages, the class action lawsuit is requesting declaratory relief and a trial by jury.
Roberts and the proposed classes are represented by Todd S. Garber and Jean M. Sedlak of Finkelstein Blankinship Frei-Pearson & Garber LLP; and Jeffrey Kaliel of Kaliel PLLC.
The Starz Class Action Lawsuit is Tawanna Roberts, et al. v. Starz Entertainment LLC, Case No. 1:17-cv-09452, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.