A proposed class action alleges Nestlé Waters North America has charged “Ready Fresh by Nestlé” subscribers an unlawfully excessive late fee in the event they submit a late monthly payment for the bottled water and beverage delivery service.
According to the complaint, many Ready Fresh by Nestlé subscribers never received from the defendant a formal written contract detailing terms and conditions for the recurring delivery service. On its website, Nestlé Waters North America lists terms and conditions that include a provision to charge a late fee not in excess of $20 or interest of 1.5 percent per month on any unpaid amount, whichever is greater.
The lawsuit alleges, however, that California law does not allow for the defendant to charge the flat $20 fee given it is often “in excess of 70 percent (70%) per month of the actual cost of the beverage service.” According to the case, California law prevents service charges, late fees and finance charges that exceed 18 percent per annum or 1.5 percent per month.
“Defendants consistently charged Plaintiffs late fees substantially in excess of that amount,” the complaint alleges, calling the defendant’s late fees “exorbitant and disproportionately high.”
Per the suit, Nestlé Waters North America “knew that their late fees were unlawful” in California yet “fraudulently concealed from and intentionally failed to disclose” to subscribers that the late fee exceeded the maximum amount allowed by state law.
The lawsuit, filed September 23 in Los Angeles County Superior Court and removed to federal court on November 17, alleges violations of California’s Unfair Competition and Deceptive Business Practices Law and the state’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, among other abuses.
The lawsuit aims to represent Ready Refresh by Nestle subscribers who were charged late fees by the defendant within the last four years.
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