A proposed class action claims iTalk Global Communications, Inc. has violated California law by enrolling consumers in automatic renewal and continuous service subscriptions without providing proper disclosures and obtaining affirmative consent to do so.
Defendant iTalk offers through its website international phone, internet and television equipment and services such as iTalkBB Chinese TV, which provides users unlimited access to popular Chinese movies and television shows, the lawsuit says. According to the case, a customer can obtain iTalkBB by paying a one-time activation fee and purchasing a phone service at the same time or by choosing to pay a monthly charge for just the iTalkBB service.
The lawsuit alleges iTalk has violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and Business and Professions Code by baiting customers with what they believe to be a one-time payment while enrolling them in an automatic renewal program and continuous service without first obtaining affirmative consent.
According to the suit, the plaintiff purchased in October 2016 an iTalkBB program by paying $49.99 to sign up for a one-year promotional package that included iTalkBB, a landline and internet services. The plaintiff says the offer was represented by iTalk as a one-year service, and listed on the plaintiff’s receipt as “US TV 1yr Signup no contract.”
Per the complaint, however, iTalk provided no “clear and conspicuous disclosures” alerting the plaintiff that the promotional service would be converted to an automatic renewal program and/or continuous service, nor any clear process to cancel.
“At the time Plaintiff purchased the Service, Defendant did not disclose to Plaintiff that the Service would continue beyond Plaintiff’s one-time purchase, and did not clearly and conspicuously state how and when Plaintiff could cancel before automatically being charged again by Defendant,” the complaint claims, adding that such disclosures are required under California law.
Moreover, the case says the defendant failed to provide any mechanism on its website to cancel the plaintiff’s service.
The plaintiff says he was charged $57 by iTalk in October 2017 without providing the company with affirmative consent, followed most recently by a $74.99 charge in February 2020.
According to the suit, the defendant’s automatic renewal and continuous service offers are nothing more than a money-making scheme intended to defraud California consumers “through false, deceptive, and misleading means.”
The plaintiff seeks to represent anyone in California who, within the past four years, purchased an iTalkBB or other similar service through the defendant’s website as part of an automatic renewal plan or continuous service offer.
Originally filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuit has been removed to California’s Central District Court.
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