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Simple Habit Automatic Subscription Renewal California Class Action

Simple Habit on Phone Screen

One of California’s many consumer protection laws deals with the way companies can renew customer subscriptions. The complaint for this class action alleges that Simple Habit, Inc. did not follow that law. It says that the company, which sells a meditation app, made charges to customers’ payment methods for ongoing product shipments or deliveries of service, without obtaining those customers’ consent.

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 Simple Habit, Inc., its predecessors, or its affiliates, via the website, 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.

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

  • 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.

While Simple Habit does have Terms of Service posted on its website, the complaint says that the terms are in “a lengthy document in which information concerning the recurring nature of Defendant’s subscription programs or the manner in which the subscription may be canceled is not set forth in clear and conspicuous language…”

Also, the complaint shows screen shots of the Simple Habit website and asserts that the company did not obtain affirmative consent to its offer terms. 

However, all is not lost. 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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