Online Marketplaces’ Deceptive Dark Patterns and Auto-Renewal Practices

Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is investigating reports of online marketplaces’ deceptive dark patterns and auto-renewal practices, where online consumers are unwittingly signed up for paid subscriptions or struggle to deactivate unwanted subscriptions. Dark patterns refer to deceptive practices by e-commerce businesses, which trick consumers into subscriptions by failing to disclose their auto-renewal policy. Consumers are lured in with “risk-free” trial offers that morph into a full subscription service at the end of the trial period and which can be difficult to cancel or refund once the change has been made. 

Under California law, online retailers must offer either a noticeable direct link or button to cancellation or an accessible termination email to swiftly end a subscription, but consumers have reported a plethora of large e-commerce businesses that have concealed any means of ending subscriptions. These difficulties in ending subscriptions have frustrated and cost consumers their valuable money and time, and many consumers have utilized litigation to ease the damages they have suffered. 

In fact in 2022, Weight-loss app Noom has agreed to pay $56 million, and provide an additional $6 million in subscription credits, to end putative New York federal court class claims that it ripped off about 2 million users through a deceptive subscription auto-renewal scheme. The suit, filed in May 2020 by a group of Noom users, claims the company employs unethical user design to pressure visitors into enrolling in a trial for a nominal fee, then automatically charges customers up to $199 for a nonrefundable subscription the moment the trial ends. Migliaccio and Rathod has cause to believe that similar practices are rampant throughout the nation and in violation of California law. 

Have you been charged subscription fees or struggled to cancel after a free trial? 

If you were charged for a subscription after the free trial period ended or faced difficulties cancelling, we would like to speak with you. Complete the questionnaire below or give us a call at (202) 470-3520. 

Attorneys Committed to Consumer Protection

The lawyers at Migliaccio & Rathod LLP have years of experience in class action litigation against large corporations, including in cases involving unfair and deceptive trade practices. More information about our current cases and investigations is available on ourblog.