Birchbox, Inc. was hit with a class action lawsuit by a California woman alleging that the makeup company engages in deceptive practices by its automatic subscriptions renewal program, which is in violation of California law.
Birchbox has a monthly subscription service in which patrons can choose to pay a monthly fee, or pay for the entire year at one time, and in exchange Birchbox promises that every month it will send high-end beauty, grooming and lifestyle samples, which the company says are customized for each subscriber.
Plaintiff Tiffany LaPuebla claims in her Birchbox class action lawsuit filed on Friday that in January 2013 she purchased a Women’s Rebillable Monthly Subscription from the Birchbox website. In the course of her purchase, LaPuebla alleges that Birchbox renewable subscription offer terms for the continuous service were not explained in a clear and conspicuous manner.
Specifically, “at the time [LaPuebla] purchased this subscription, [Birchbox] charged plaintiff for a automatic renewal offer without first obtaining plaintiff’s affirmative consent to the agreement containing the automatic renewal offer terms or continuous service offer terms,” LaPuebla explains in her Birchbox class action lawsuit.
She alleges that Birchbox violated California’s Automatic Purchase Renewal Statute by “failing to present [its] automatic renewal offer terms or continuous service offer terms in a clear and conspicuous manner before” the subscription was fulfilled.
The California Automatic Purchase Renewal Statute was violated by Birchbox failing to include clear terms of its subscription service, by charging customer debit and credit cards with out affirmative consent, and by failing to explain how customers may cancel the subscription, especially in the case of a free trial, the class action lawsuit alleges.
Birchbox allegedly placed the terms in a place on the website that were not near the check box that she checked off to give her consent to the monthly subscription service, which violates the California purchase renewal law.
“Whether the consumer wants continuing shipments or not, the company that’s committing the consumer to the auto-renewal is mandated by California law to give disclosures in a certain manner,” LaPuebla’s attorney explained.
“Whether the consumer wants it or not is irrelevant because it’s a strict liability statute,” he said.
In addition, the attorney says that LaPuebla was under the impression by the “Women’s Rebillable Monthly Subscription” that she would be receiving “a bill every month, not automatically renew.”
LaPuebla is proposing a class of California residents “who purchased a subscription from [Birchbox] through the [Birchbox] website as part an automatic renewal plan or continuous service offer for products and services from [Birchbox] within the four years prior to” when this class action lawsuit was filed.
The Birchbox class action lawsuit alleges that the makeup company violated California’s Automatic Purchase Renewal Statue, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and California business law.
LaPuebla is asking for injunctive relief and that the money she was charged as part of the subscription program be returned in full.
Lapuebla is represented by Abbas Kazerounian and Mona Amini of Kazerouni Law Group, APC, and Joshua B. Swigart and Sara Khosroabadi of Kazerouni Law Group, APC.
Counsel information for Birchbox was not immediately available.
The Birchbox Auto-Renewal Class Action Lawsuit isTiffany Lapuebla v. Birchbox Inc., Case No. 3:15-cv-00214, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
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