Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is investigating claims by online consumers who are unwittingly charged for products or subscription services through a “negative option feature.” Absent the expressed cancellation of a subscription, inaction on the customer’s part is regarded as compliance and acceptance of the subscription or service fee, under the negative option model. As a result, consumers find themselves involuntarily renewing services that they might have otherwise cancelled, had the steps to do so been visible and accessible.
Included in this investigation is the company Private Label Skin, which owns Hashtag Fulfillment. As of 2017, Hashtag Fulfillment has received over 4,000 complaints from customers who were charged subscription fees after their free trial period had ended, or who received charges on their accounts for supposedly free products.
Two federal laws aim to protect consumers from hidden auto-renewal clauses. The Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) requires that companies obtain the customer’s consent before the customer is signed up for a free trial that later becomes a paid subscription. And second, the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 41, et seq., requires retailers to visibly display and disclose their auto-renewal policies. Hashtag Fulfillment is under investigation for potentially violating the Federal Trade Commission Act by not prominently featuring the terms and conditions of free trials.
Have you been charged subscription fees after a free trial?
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Attorneys Committed to Consumer Protection
The lawyers at Migliaccio & Rathod have years of experience in class action litigation against large corporations, including in cases involving defective products and unfair & deceptive trade practices. More information about our current cases and investigations is available on our blog.
A representative for Hashtag Fulfillment contacted our law firm and expressed his thoughts on why Hashtag Fulfillment should be removed from our investigation. Explaining that Hashtag Fulfillment is not involved in the direct sale or marketing of the products that it prepares for its business clients, the representative believes that customers’ complaints are misdirected, and that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is wrong to compile all the complaints in Hashtag Fulfillment’s BBB page. As of February 2018, the Better Business Bureau has not changed its determination regarding Hashtag Fulfillment’s role, in respect to customer complaints. Our firm will continue to update this investigation, as needed.