Formula 1 Streaming Lawsuit Alleges Consumers Are Locked into Auto-Renewing Subscriptions Without Consent
Davenport v. Liberty Media Corporation et al.
Filed: March 15, 2023 ◆§ 3:23-cv-00475
A class action alleges the companies behind the F1 TV live and on-demand streaming service have illegally locked certain Formula 1 fans into auto-renewing subscriptions.
California Unfair Competition Law California Automatic Renewal Law California Consumers Legal Remedies Act
A proposed class action alleges the companies behind the F1 TV live and on-demand streaming service have illegally locked certain Formula 1 racing fans into automatically renewing subscriptions without their knowledge or consent.
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The 27-page lawsuit alleges Liberty Media Corporation, Formula One Group and Formula One Digital Media Limited have violated California law by enrolling unwitting consumers into the Formula 1 streaming service, which offers consumers live and on-demand access to some of the highest-class international auto racing in the world.
Once a consumer is enrolled in F1 TV Pro, the suit says, their credit or debit card is charged $9.99 per month, or $2.99 per month for F1 TV Access, totaling $79.99 and $26.99 per year, respectively.
“The problem with Defendants’ business practices is they fail to provide clear and conspicuous disclosures mandated by California law and fail to provide a clear mechanism by which consumers may cancel their subscriptions,” the lawsuit summarizes.
The suit accuses Liberty Media and the Formula One defendants of having availed themselves of the lucrative subscription economy, which, the case argues, has “outpaced the federal regulations that police it.”
The defendants, in violation of California law, enroll consumers into recurring subscription services without providing a mandatory “clear and conspicuous” disclosure of the subscription’s terms and then charging their payment cards without first obtaining affirmative consent to do so, the lawsuit alleges. Further, the companies do not provide an “easy and efficient” method whereby customers can cancel their subscriptions, which often leads to “failed cancellations and repeated subscription charges,” according to the suit.
As the complaint tells it, California’s Automatic Renewal Law was enacted “to prohibit companies like Defendants from enrolling consumers in automatic renewal programs” without making certain disclosures or obtaining affirmative consent.
The page on which consumers can subscribe to F1 TV Pro and F1 TV does not include any automatic renewal terms or any indication that the service will automatically renew, according to the suit. In fact, up until a consumer reaches the “review your order” page whereupon they input their payment and billing details, no webpages on the defendants’ website contain clear and conspicuous disclosures about their automatically renewing program, the case claims.
The lawsuit looks to cover all consumers in California who, within the applicable statute of limitations period, bought a subscription to F1 TV and were charged a fee to renew their subscription.
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