B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Classmates.com Settles Lawsuit

with 14 comments

Thankfully, the ubiquitous Classmates.com banner ads are less prevalent than they once were. I never had a weak moment and signed up, but some did, and some got compensated for their blinding loneliness.

myspace

Classmates.com has agreed to refund nearly $10 million to users who were told that long-lost school chums were looking at their profiles, only to find, once they’d ponied up a subscription fee, that no one they knew was looking for them at all.

The proposed settlement would end a lawsuit filed in November 2008 on behalf of Classmates.com user Anthony Michaels who sued after he spent $15 to upgrade to a Gold Membership at Classmates.com, one of the net’s original social networking sites. But that fee was a rip-off, he said.

“Upon logging into his Gold Membership profile in order to view the classmate contacts … Plaintiff discovered that in fact, no former classmate of his had tried to contact him or view his profile,” the complaint read. “Of those www.classmates.com users who were characterized … as members who viewed Plaintiff’s profile, none were former classmates of Plaintiff or persons familiar with or known to Plaintiff for that matter.”

While Classmates.com denies it engaged in any deception, it agreed to pay up to $9.5 million to the estimated 3.16 million people who signed up for the service after seeing ads and e-mails encouraging users to upgrade in order to see what members had been looking at their profiles. Each will be offered $3 in cash or a $2 certificate towards future membership.

[Click to continue reading Lonely Classmates.com Users Get $9.5M in Suit]

Don't Even Bother

The real winners, of course, are the class action lawyers1, who as always get the major portion of the settlement. Most members of the class get $3, if you were a primary defendant, you get $2,500, but the attorneys get $1,300,000. Pretty much par for the course.

update: see here for more details, but

But this week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a damper on the business model of legal extortion by trial lawyers filing frivolous lawsuits.

Frank has become the proverbial fly in the trial lawyers’ ointment, objecting again and again to bogus nuisance settlements that make up the bread and butter for some. In January, his objection helped convince a court to throw out a settlement between Classmates.com(the online social site with the annoying popup ads) and some users who felt they had been duped into signing up.

In that case — whose merits appear much stronger than the Bluetooth case — the lawyers had negotiated $117,000 for the aggrieved class, and a million-plus-dollar fee for themselves.

Frank’s organization, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is currently fighting settlements that are overly generous to trial lawyers in cases against Kellogg, Volkswagen and Toys “R” Us, among others.

Footnotes:
  1. note: this link to the PDF is currently not working []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

14 Responses to 'Classmates.com Settles Lawsuit'

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  1. Their still crooks

    Gary

    8 Jul 10 at 1:10 pm

  2. Hey Gary, I agree with you, THEY’RE crooks. But I’m not sure you received a good education in spelling.

    Jeff

    7 Aug 10 at 1:17 pm

  3. Well, now they have a new scam. They don’t let you know that the renewal fee is double the introductory offer and then won’t let you drop out. When I complained online I got banned from the website and they still have my $39!.

    Darlene

    9 Aug 10 at 9:06 pm

  4. I AM SO MAD, THEY TOOK MY 39.00 DOLLARS EVEN AFTER I CANCELLED TO MANUAL,,,,,,,,,THIS IS SO NOT COOL.
    I AM GONNA TRY TO CONTACT THE BANK TOMORROW AND TELL THEM IT WAS WITHOUT PERMISSION.
    I STOPPED IT TWICE NOW…….WHAT MORE CAN I DO.
    HELP

    STEPH

    10 Aug 10 at 11:36 pm

  5. I too had the same problem. I noticed that they had started a deduction from my checking account for the $39.00 when I did not authorize an auto withdrawal. I tried a number of times to contact them by email with no response but to change my account to manual deduction.

    I again email them to give me a refund…I am still waiting.

    I think it is time for another classaction suit.
    I contacted the bank to stop the transaction….guess what..no dice…..may have to change banks also…..

    John

    16 Sep 10 at 8:05 pm

  6. Wow, I never thought of suing-I got those emails all the time, but I had very few friends in HS and couldn’t imagine who’d be contacting me unless they were selling something; so I never joined.

    moussette

    30 Sep 10 at 8:07 am

  7. BEWARE…..once you sign up for Classmates.com it’s very hard to cancel. They claim you agreed to a one year notice of cancellation period. They are ruthless.

    BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU PAY THEM.

    Bob Schuetz

    14 Oct 10 at 7:13 pm

  8. ummm fuck classmates

    Armando Hoyos

    18 Oct 10 at 11:54 am

  9. I just fell for the same scam. Apparently lawsuit or no, they have not changed their tactics. Immediately after signing for the Gold, I discovered the hoax, called their office and they absolutely refused to refund my money. Wouldn’t you think a large lawsuit settlement would dissuade them from continuing their dishonest practices or is the $ so good they can afford another? Nov. 2010
    Seems like the Attorney General should look into their company.

    Karen

    16 Nov 10 at 6:30 pm

  10. I just went through this same fiasco with Classmates. I emailed them repeatedly until I got my money back. Initially they denied my request for a refund for the unauthorized charge to my credit card but then I explained that I would be contacting the BBB (Already had), the Attorney General and my credit card company, they promptly refunded me my $39.00 claiming this was not their standard policy but this “one time” they would do it. I also tossed in to the email the fact that consumeraffairs.com is the number one hit on them for complaints and that I would be hopping on all bandwagons to receive my credit. 2 denials and then finally they refunded. DON’T give up. Keep pestering them and threatening and they WILL refund you the money.

    LLVN

    18 Jan 11 at 8:37 pm

  11. They took my $39 too and mine was set to manual.

    Catherine

    14 Feb 11 at 12:46 pm

  12. Watch out for Memory Lane…. same outfit. Fool me once… yaddha yaddha yaddha… you get the picture?

    CitizenPete

    16 Mar 11 at 6:34 pm

  13. They are still doing the same,what a rip off.Wish I had all this information before I signed up.Will really have to watch when its time again,I have checked manual but looks like that dosn’t mean a thing to them.

    AVA

    20 Apr 11 at 8:16 pm

  14. […] and again to bogus nuisance settlements that make up the bread and butter for some. In January, his objection helped convince a court to throw out a settlement between Classmates.com (the online social site with the annoying popup ads) and some users who felt they had been duped […]

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