A proposed class action claims Walmart-owned Sam’s Club eliminated its business membership tier without notice before up-charging consumers into Sam’s Plus memberships under false representations.
Prior to 2019, defendant Sam’s East, Inc., who operates 17 membership-only retail warehouse clubs in Missouri, offered three membership tiers—Sam’s Savings memberships for $45, Sam’s Business memberships for a similar price that allowed members to shop before regular store hours, and Sam’s Plus memberships for $100 per year that included additional benefits, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiff claims she renewed her Sam’s Business membership for an additional year in February 2019 based on the option that she would be able to shop as early as 7:00 a.m. In early July 2019, when the plaintiff attempted to shop between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 a.m., she was told at checkout that Sam’s Business memberships had been unilaterally eliminated and that she would have to upgrade to a Sam’s Plus membership in order to continue shopping before 9:00 a.m., according to the suit.
Per the case, the plaintiff was later informed by a Sam’s customer service representative that the defendant was notifying customers of the change on a “case by case” basis as they came into the store.
The issue, according to the complaint, is that the plaintiff was charged $34.35 for an upgrade to a Sam’s Plus membership around July 5, 2019. In paying for the upgrade, the plaintiff relied on the defendant’s representation that she had to do so in order to continue to shop before the store’s regular business hours, the case says.
Shortly thereafter, however, the plaintiff allegedly discovered that Sam’s Club greeters were no longer checking customers’ membership cards to confirm their eligibility to shop before 9:00 a.m. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was told that the store was open to all shoppers at 7:00 a.m. regardless of membership level.
“Consequently, there was no need for [the plaintiff] to have been charged for a Plus Membership in order to be able to shop before 9:00 a.m.,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiff asserts she upgraded her membership based on Sam’s Club’s false representation that she was required to do so to continue taking advantage of the store’s early shopping hours.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who was charged for an upgrade from a Sam’s Business membership to a Sam’s Plus membership between February 2, 2019 and February 2, 2020.
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