Rite Aid Corporation has been hit with a proposed class action in California that claims the drugstore chain collects donations from customers without their consent.
The case explains that when customers make purchases at a Rite Aid location using their Wellness cards, they are presented with a prompt on the pin pad that asks them to opt into the Rite Aid Foundation KidsCents program. The program purportedly allows Rite Aid to round up customers’ purchases to the nearest dollar and collect the difference to donate to charity. Once a customer has opted in, Rite Aid continues the donation practice for every future purchase the customer makes with his or her Wellness card unless the individual expressly opts out, the case says.
The suit argues that this opt-in method is misleading as many customers don’t realize they are signing up for recurring donations or, in many cases, consenting to a donation program at all. The prompt on the pin pad, according to one Rite Aid cashier, is “really easy to miss” and can mislead customers, especially senior citizens, into unknowingly signing up for the program by pressing the “always donate” button. The cashier claims many customers assume “without thinking” that the donation is one-time-only or just part of their credit card transaction.
To make matters worse, Rite Aid apparently displays no information about the program's details in its stores and pockets a portion of the total donations collected. The suit says the pharmacy has received scores of complaints about its supposedly “underhanded” opt-in method yet continues to run its campaign and exploit its customers without their knowledge or consent.