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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Active Network Settles “Automatic Renewal” Consumer Protection Action With California Prosecutors

Santa Rosa, CA  –  June 16, 2016  –  Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch today announced that her office, along with the District Attorneys of Alameda and San Diego Counties, settled a consumer protection action against Active Network, LLC (“Active”), a company that provides on-line event registration services for people and groups wishing to host activities such as athletic events, camping trips, corporate events and the like.

The civil complaint was filed in Alameda County. As alleged in the Complaint, Active offers a paid membership program known as “Active Advantage,” which affords members discounts on future event registrations, and other goods and services. Between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, much of the period of time covered by this action, membership in Active Advantage cost $59.95 and, later, $64.95 per year. Membership in Activity Advantage is automatically renewed each year, unless a member cancels.

The Complaint alleges that Active violated false advertising and consumer protection laws, including the laws governing “automatic renewal” contracts, by, among other things, advertising a free trial membership in Active Advantage without including legally sufficient disclosures that at the end of the trial period the customer would automatically be enrolled in a paid subscription program requiring him/her to affirmatively cancel his/her membership to avoid annual charges.

Under the terms of the court-approved judgment, Active agreed to fully fund a restitution program sufficient to reimburse approximately 100,000 California consumers who, between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, enrolled in Active Advantage following an event registration, but did not use the service to get any discount or benefit (excluding a discount or benefit they may have received automatically upon enrollment) and did not already receive a refund. Active will set aside an initial fund of $1,000,000 for restitution payments, and replenish that fund as necessary. The restitution program will be administered by a third-party claims administrator, which will issue notices to eligible consumers and set up a website to handle claims that are submitted. Those consumers who joined Active Advantage after December 31, 2013, and have not used the service to get a benefit or discount (excluding any discount upon initial enrollment) are also eligible to receive a refund by contacting Active directly.

In addition to the restitution program, Active will pay $2.7 million in civil penalties and $150,000 to reimburse the costs of investigation.

“Automatic renewal schemes over the internet are becoming more and more common,” said Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. “My office is committed to ensuring that California’s consumer protection laws are followed, and that companies are not allowed to mislead consumers into entering into contracts that unwittingly authorize recurring charges to their credit cards. Those consumers who are entitled to restitution under the terms of this judgment should monitor their email accounts and mail boxes to be sure they receive and submit a valid request for restitution.”

Once notified of the alleged deficiencies in its marketing practices, Active and its counsel worked cooperatively to implement changes and make additional disclosures, without admitting liability.

Consumers interested in learning more about the restitution program should contact the claims administrator, Gilardi & Co., LLC, at 855-730-8661 and kelly.estrada@gilardi.com.

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Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone
Address
600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273
 

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