A lawsuit seeking to potentially cover hundreds of thousands of America Online Inc. subscribers accuses the Time Warner Inc. unit of illegally billing customers by creating secondary accounts for them without their consent.
The lawsuit, filed last month in St. Clair County Circuit Court on behalf of 10 AOL customers in six states, claims the company confused and deceived customers about the charges, stalled them from canceling unauthorized accounts and refused to return questioned fees.
“AOL exploits its subscribers’ confidential billing information to unlawfully generate additional revenue by charging subscribers for additional membership accounts that they neither order nor request,” the lawsuit alleges, calling the scheme “common, uniform and continuing.”
The lawsuit, seeking class-action status, mirrors more than a dozen other actions that have been pending in state and federal courts throughout the country, said Stuart Talley, a Sacramento, Calif., attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Illinois lawsuit. All of the federal cases were consolidated in California two years ago, Talley said.