A federal judge in California’s Southern District has approved a settlement on behalf of consumers who used several popular online flower and gift sellers — Pro Flowers, Red Envelope, Cherry Moon Farms, Secret Spoon and Sharri’s Berries. Plaintiffs allege that these companies violated state and federal law by enrolling customers who made purchases through their websites into “membership programs” without their knowledge or consent. See In re: EasySaver Rewards Litigation, No. 09-02094 (S.D. Cal. filed Aug. 13, 2012).
The plaintiffs contend that they and other consumers were unwittingly enrolled in these programs. Specifically, the complaint alleges that, after customers provided their personal and payment information and completed their purchase, a window popped up thanking them for their order and offering a gift code for $15.00 off their next purchase. The window also contained a link to click on to claim the gift code. When customers clicked on it and input their zip code, they were then enrolled in the membership program and charged an activation fee and monthly fee, using the payment information they had used to complete their purchase. Plaintiffs allege that the pop-up window was part of an intentionally misleading and deceptive scheme.
The estimated two million class members are eligible to receive both a $20 credit and a cash refund as a result of the settlement. The total settlement fund is valued at $12.5 million, though the settlement proceeds include over $40 million in coupons that can be used by the settling consumers for purchases with the settling merchants.