Angie’s List, an Internet-based company that allows customers to write and access business reviews, is facing a lawsuit alleging it defrauded its members through automatic membership fee renewals that were more expensive than what they expected.
The lawsuit was filed by Philadelphia resident Marie Fritzinger, who’s been a paying member of the website since 2007. The lawsuit seeks class-action status.
Fritzinger alleges the Indianapolis-based company abused its automatic renewal policy by not notifying its customers about a change in business model and membership offerings in 2010.
That year, Angie’s List created a “bundled” subscription that gives members access to three business review categories — auto services, health-care services and home contractors — for a premium price.
The lawsuit claims that the company did not notify customers that they were being enrolled in the more expensive bundle membership plan and never obtained consent from them about the higher rates.
“Angie’s List has continued to deceive and defraud its members and prospective members through public statements and electronic transmissions conveying the false impression that new and renewing members are charged pursuant to an identical membership fee schedule,” according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
Angie’s List spokeswoman Cheryl Reed declined to comment on the specifics of the pending litigation but said the company would vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit. MORE MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!
The company has until Nov. 2 to respond to the lawsuit in court. The company is represented by George Gasper, an Ice Miller attorney. Irwin Levin of Cohen & Malad LLP represents Fritzinger.
Originally founded by Angie Hicks in 1995 in Columbus, Ohio, the company now has about 1.4 million members from 200 markets across all 50 states.