Half of our latest issue is dedicated to lawsuits against a giant – a tech giant, that is. In our first story, we’ll touch on a case filed against Google that recently settled and may mean a few dollars going into the pockets of those who got in on Google+ before it went bust. Then, a new lawsuit takes issue with how much Google Home is actually listening in on us – and it may be much more than you think. Not everything is about Google, though. This issue will also touch on lawsuits filed against Ancestry.com and Viagogo – both for allegedly being dishonest with consumers when it came to their money. All these stories plus the latest settlements can be found below.
It may not be much, but Google+ users may be able to claim up to $12 from a recent class action settlement. The now-resolved lawsuit took issue with software bugs that allegedly exposed Google+ users’ non-public profile information. And now, the $7.5 million settlement is open for consumers to submit their claims; the best way to do that is through the form on the official settlement site. The deadline to submit a claim is October 8, 2020, so if you held a Google+ account between January 1, 2015 and April 2, 2019, don’t put this off for too long. For a closer look at the settlement and a link to the established settlement site, check out this blog post. A final fairness hearing is tentatively scheduled for November 19 to put the final stamp of approval on the deal.
A proposed class action is claiming that Google Home has been eavesdropping on its users despite promises to the contrary. According to the suit, Google and parent company Alphabet have deceived and misled consumers by falsely promising their stable of voice-activated products, including the Home, Hub and Nest, will only listen to users upon hearing an activation phrase, such as “Hey Google” or “OK Google.” The lawsuit claims, however, that the devices are always keeping track of what’s being said “even when there are no sounds in the house that sound anything remotely like the activation phrase[s].” The plaintiffs assert that they never would have bought the Google Home had they known the device was configured to record and transmit data back to Google without their consent. You can read up on the case details here.
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A free trial should be just that – free. But a recently filed proposed class action is claiming that Ancestry.com has been enrolling its “free trial” customers in automatically renewing memberships in violation of California law. Under California’s Automatic Renewal Law, a company must present the terms of an automatic renewal offer in a “clear and conspicuous” manner before the transaction is completed, which according to the case, isn’t happening over at Ancestry.com. The suit says that after signing up for a free trial subscription, the user is unknowingly stuck with a commitment to pay $39.99 for a month of service after the 14-day trial ends – and the monthly subscription is renewed every month thereafter until the user catches on. If you used the site, we have the details for you here.
Viagogo is facing a lawsuit claiming that it did away with its longstanding money-back guarantee as a way to keep the company afloat after events across the country were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than live up to the terms of its longstanding “Viagogo Guarantee,” a policy that allowed for full cash refunds for cancellations, the company has instead quietly forced its customers to shoulder the burden of its financial losses, the case alleges. When the company decided to put an end to the policy to save money, the change retroactively affected those who already held tickets at the time, meaning that they could no longer get their full cash refunds despite the promise that was made to them at the point of sale. The lawsuit looks to represent those who bought tickets through Viagogo Entertainment Inc. and were deprived of a refund after the company retroactively changed its policy. You can find more information on the case here.
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