Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter! Most of what we’ll have a look at today seems like business as usual for the class action space. For instance, you’ll find cases below that take issue with how companies are marketing the food we give our pets and how others are failing to give full refunds for events canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. On top of these all-too-familiar stories, we have a case with dozens of defendants that looks to put an end to what the suit describes as a “free trial” scam ring and another that takes issue with Google and Apple’s roles in the sale of games that contain loot boxes. Read on for more, plus the latest settlements.
More and more cases are being filed over the quality of the food companies expect us to feed our pets – and the latest takes issue with Rachel Ray’s Nutrish Zero Grain dog food. According to the lawsuit, the food may actually be harmful to pets in that it’s deficient in taurine and contains legume-based protein, a combination that, when found in grain-free dog foods, is linked to a potentially fatal heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The companies behind the product claim Nutrish Zero Grain dog food offers “100% complete & balanced nutrition for dogs” and is made with “only the best, high-quality, carefully chosen ingredients,” which, according to the complaint, misleads customers into paying extra for a “premium” product. This type of marketing continued even after an FDA investigation into the health effects of grain-free dog food reportedly linked Nutrish Zero Grain to a spike in DCM cases nationwide. Want more? The case details can be found here.
We find Eventbrite joining the growing list of companies facing legal action for their alleged failure to provide adequate refunds to customers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the lawsuit, Eventbrite assured customers that full refunds would be issued but instead “consistently refused” to give people their money back for canceled, postponed, or rescheduled events, even when an event was postponed indefinitely. The suit says Eventbrite has attempted to shift the blame to event organizers by allowing them to be the ones to refuse refunds. The lawsuit argues, however, that Eventbrite’s “minimum requirements” for event organizers at best only encourage the entities to “make good” when an event is canceled and fail to comply with the law. If you were refused a refund, you can read up on the details here.
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A recently filed lawsuit aims to blow the lid off what it describes as a multi-layered “free trial” scam ring involving dozens of companies and individuals whose “only goal” is to fraudulently obtain consumers’ credit or debit card information. The complaint claims online shoppers are being enticed into signing up for purportedly “free trials” with fake celebrity and magazine endorsements that claim a famous person has either backed or created a new cosmetic product line. Though scammers claim consumers can try a new product for the cost of shipping and handling only, this offer is merely a trap aimed at locking the individual into an unrelenting, costly billing cycle that they have little hope of escaping, according to the lawsuit. With dozens named as defendants, this is an incredibly broad case, so head over to our blog for the breakdown.
Apple and Google are facing nearly identical lawsuits claiming they have knowingly allowed both adults and children to engage in illegal gambling through mobile games available on the App Store and Google Play. Specifically, the suits take issue with in-app purchases known as “loot boxes.” With a loot box, a player pays real money for a randomized chance at obtaining goodies that include better weapons or gear for a player’s character – with the more desirable items being far rarer than their lesser and more common counterparts. The lawsuits claim loot boxes, unfortunately, can create and reinforce addictive behaviors in players, particularly adolescents. While Google and Apple aren’t responsible for the creation of games that feature these loot systems, both companies “profit handsomely” by marketing and selling the apps through their online app platforms, acting as agents for the developers and taking a 30-percent cut of all the money spent by gamers. You can check out the full story here.
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