The Checkout

States Halt Time's Automatic Subscription Renewals

Time after time, I've gotten complaints from readers who said they were billed for subscription renewals they didn't order. And many of the complaints were about Time Inc., which owns Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune and a raft of other magazines.

Yesterday, 23 of the nation's attorneys general cracked down on these automatic renewals. Time will pay $4.3 million to consumers and another $4.5 million to cover the costs of the investigation. More than 100,000 consumers -- about 3,400 in Maryland and 4,400 in Virginia--will be eligible for refunds on subscriptions that were automatically renewed between January 1998 and May 2004.

Perhaps even more significant, the settlement requires Time to clearly inform customers of the terms of automatic renewal and notify them before a subscription's expiration so they can opt out if they prefer.
Read more about the settlement in today's paper, in a story written by Steven Levingston.

By  |  March 22, 2006; 10:49 AM ET Legal Battles/Settlements
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