AOL Accused of Charging for Unwanted Merchandise

Share this content:
AOL Time Warner Inc.'s America Online unit faces a lawsuit that alleges the Internet service provider delivered and charged customers for merchandise they did not buy.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 22 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, claims that AOL "unlawfully charged and collected money for ... unordered merchandise and shipping and handling charges from subscribers' credit cards, debit cards and checking accounts." The suit alleges that AOL charged customers for merchandise advertised on its service, even though they clicked on the "no thanks" button in the ad for the merchandise.

Barry Himmelstein, a lawyer with the San Francisco firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, which represents some of the plaintiffs, said his firm received dozens of complaints about AOL's alleged practice.

"We are currently investigating complaints that America Online and CompuServe have shipped merchandise to subscribers that the subscribers never ordered and charged the subscribers' credit card that AOL or CompuServe has on file for the unordered merchandise," a note on the Lieff Cabraser Web site said.

The suit seeks class-action status. No court date has been set.

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham dismissed the lawsuit as being without merit. The company plans to "vigorously contest" the lawsuit in court, he said.

The lawsuit claims that an Oakland, CA, woman was charged $10 for a desk planner and $171 for a stereo she never bought. Another California woman alleges she was charged $74 for bedsheets she did not want.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and the return of unauthorized payments to the plaintiffs. It also seeks to let the plaintiffs keep the merchandise they claim they did not order -- at AOL's expense.

Subscribers spent $33 billion last year on merchandise offered through AOL's shopping channels, the company said. They spent $11 billion in fourth-quarter 2001 alone.


Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above