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Brain.fm Automatic Subscription Renewal California Class Action

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Phone with Brain.fm App on Screen

Among California’s consumer protection laws is one that limits the way companies can renew customer subscriptions. The complaint for this class action alleges that Brain.fm, Inc. did not follow that law and charged customers’ payment methods for ongoing deliveries of service without fulfilling the details of the law.

The class for this action is all persons in California who bought any product or service in response to an automatic renewal offer as defined by § 17601(a) of the Business and Professions Code, from Brain.fm, its predecessors, or its affiliates, via the website brain.fm, within the applicable statute of limitations through the entry of judgment in this case. 

California law requires that when companies want a customer to renew a subscription or continuous service agreement, they (a) present the offer terms to the customer in a clear and conspicuous manner and in visual proximity to the request for consent; (b) obtain the customer’s affirmative consent before charging the customer’s payment method; and (c) provide an acknowledgment that includes the terms of the offer, cancellation policy, and information on how to cancel, in a form that allows the consumer to retain it.

The law also provides details for each of these requirements. For example, the terms of an automatic renewal offer must clearly and conspicuously show these disclosures: 

  • The fact that the agreement will continue until the customer cancels it.
  • The cancellation policy for the offer.
  • The amounts that will be charged to the customer and, if the amount will change, the amount to which it will change.
  • The length of the term of the agreement, unless the length of time has been set by the consumer. 
  • The minimum purchase obligation, if there is one.

Brain.fm offers different subscriptions for music streaming and related products. The complaint alleges that the company did not present the automatic renewal or continuous service offer in a clear and conspicuous manner, before the subscription agreement was fulfilled, in visual proximity to the request for consent. For example, the complaint says, it did not provide its full cancellation policy. 

Also, the company did not obtain the customer’s affirmative consent.

However, there is a bright side to the company’s failure. The complaint details a provision of the California law that will make a deceived customer smile: “Because of the Defendant’s failure to gather affirmative consent to the automatic renewal terms, all goods, wares, merchandise, or products, sent to Plaintiff and Class Members under the automatic renewal or continuous service agreement are deemed to be an unconditional gift…”

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