$2.4 Million Settlement Reached in New York Times Auto-Subscription Case

The New York Times settles subscription renewal lawsuit

California Residents to Receive Compensation After Confusing Renewal Practices

The New York Times has agreed to pay nearly $2.4 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by California residents who were unwittingly charged for subscriptions they didn't want. The lawsuit alleged that the NY Times automatically signed up users for subscriptions without proper consent or clear cancellation procedures.

The settlement comes almost four years after California resident Maribel Moses first hit the news company with a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that, after she gave the New York Times her PayPal information for a limited subscription to the website and app in 2019, she was then unwittingly charged 10 times for a subscription she didn’t want.

Moses said she tried to cancel the subscription, but the process was too confusing. She alleges the Times never gave her the information she needed to consent to the subscription, or to cancel it, in violation of California subscription laws.

Second settlement offers cash back after initial objections

This settlement marks the second attempt to resolve the case. An earlier $1.7 million agreement offering free subscription access codes was rejected by objectors who argued it didn't adequately compensate consumers. 

One of the original settlement objectors, Eric Alan Isaacson, argued that the access codes were like coupons, not the cash back the complainants wanted, and that they would require consumers doing future business with the New York Times. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with Isaacson and vacated and reversed this court’s Final Approval Order and Judgment on Aug. 17, 2023.

The new settlement creates a fund to be distributed directly to class members, following the deduction of legal fees and other costs.

A pattern of unwanted subscription charges?

This lawsuit isn't the only instance of The New York Times or other companies facing legal challenges related to automatic subscription renewals. Similar lawsuits against The New York Times were filed in North Carolina (2021, settled for $5.563 million) and by consumers in California and Oregon against Amazon (2024, ongoing).

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that a class action lawsuit against Amazon can proceed. The lawsuit was filed amid complaints by consumers in California and Oregon who allege Amazon has illegal subscription practices as it relates to its services like Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited. 

The plaintiff and the proposed class are represented by Neal J. Deckant of Bursor & Fisher PA. 

The New York Times subscription renewal fee class action lawsuit is Moses et al v. The New York Times Co., Case No. 1:20-cv-04658-RA, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.



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