Classmates.com Sued Over False Advertisement
A former customer of Classmates.com has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, saying their claims are fraudulent and they tricked him into upgrading to a gold account. Sound like a simple false advertising case, but if the case progresses, it could force Classmates.com, and other websites like it, to change they way they advertise.
Anthony Michaels signed up for a free member of Classmates.com last year. However, with only a free membership, Michaels couldn’t interact with other members or do anything interesting at all. He said that he began receiving emails from Classmates.com claiming that old classmates of his had been looking at his profile and trying to get in touch with him through the site. The thing is, he had to sign up for a paid membership to gain access to any messages his old classmates were trying to send him.
It’s tempting, like a ringing phone – people are drawn to answer. So Michaels eventually paid up hoping to see all the messages and profiles of his old classmates. When he finally did, he saw that his inbox was empty and the only people that had viewed his profile were complete strangers.
That’s when he filed his lawsuit against the company on behalf of not only himself, but others who have subscribed because of these emails from Classmates.com. Michaels accuses the site of intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and fraudulent concealment. He also says that the site is in violation of the California Business and Professions Code.
The complaint reads:
“(Classmates.com) knew at all times that the individuals, members, and/or users who were making attempts to contact Plaintiff and the Class were not former classmates when they… made false representations regarding the attempted contacts… The Defendants… intended to deceive, and did deceive Plaintiff and the Class by concealing and failing to disclose the fact that the individuals, members, and/or users who were making attempts to contact Plaintiff and the Class were not former classmates.”
Michaels is hoping to be awarded general, special, and punitive damages; and also wants injunctive relief against Classmates.com, as well as restitution, attorney’s fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest. Sheesh.
It seems like an easy case on the face of it. The company said one thing to get him to pay, and it wasn’t true. But this case could set a precedent since so many sites, especially dating sites, use the same types of advertising tactics to get customers to sign up or bump up a tier. Michaels’ case could change everything, for the better, in my opinion.