Zoom Telephonics and subsidiary MTRLC LLC face a proposed class action lawsuit that claims the companies have deceived consumers by passing off used or refurbished modems as new.
According to the complaint, the defendants repackage and resell used modems that have been registered to previous customers. The defendants, however, represent that these modems are new and give no indication on the products’ packaging that they’ve been previously owned, the lawsuit claims. A problem this can pose is that when a consumer goes to activate what they believe is their new modem, they’re unable to do so since the device has already been linked to a previous account, the complaint says.
The suit claims the plaintiff purchased one of the defendants’ Motorola-branded MT7711 modems from a Florida Best Buy for $233 under the impression the product was new. The modem allegedly included a limited warranty covering “the first consumer purchaser” that guaranteed that the product – which was sold alongside genuinely new devices – was new, free of defects, and usable for its intended purpose. According to the complaint, however, the defendants’ “first consumer purchaser” warranties do not cover pre-owned modems, leaving buyers who unwittingly purchase used modems with no recourse.
When the plaintiff went to Comcast to activate his “new” modem, he was informed that the device was used and had been registered to a prior account, the lawsuit says. Since the modem had previously been used, Comcast, the suit claims, was unable to activate the device and the plaintiff was forced to purchase a new one “at substantial cost.” The complaint contends the plaintiff would not have purchased the modem had he known it was used.
The case claims Zoom Telephonics was fully aware that used modems could present problems to consumers, and even stated on its website that “used or refurbished devices may not work with your account because they are associated by your service provider with the account of a previous user.” Despite this warning, the complaint alleges, the defendants defrauded consumers by packaging and selling modems that were pre-owned and therefore could not be used as intended. Further, by selling pre-owned modems as new, the defendants violated the terms of their warranty and misled consumers into paying more than they otherwise would have, the complaint alleges.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants’ practices violated both the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The lawsuit looks to represent a nationwide class composed of everyone who purchased a modem manufactured or sold by Zoom Telephonics or MTRLC LLC, as well as a subclass of Florida consumers.