A reluctance to disclose all terms of a contract or deal may be perceived as deceptive and unethical. By not outlining the specifics of the subscriptions to various publications, Massachusetts born Gatehouse Media LLC has violated the consumer rights of its subscribers. The customers’ expectations did not match what the company actually offered. The plaintiffs of the class action lawsuit purchased either one-year or 26-week subscriptions, but also received magazines that did not pertain to the same genre or interests of the publications they purchased.
In particular, one magazine called Lens was included in the newspapers delivered to customers. This magazine was not only filled with advertisements, but the articles included did not complement or relate to the publications the subscribers had selected. The extra magazine was marketed as an added premium bonus. In actuality, the subscribers were receiving less than what they had intended to purchase.
The plaintiffs argued that the way in which Lens and other unrequested magazines were included in the bill was misleading. Gatehouse Media would essentially charge $2 for the Lens magazine without offering other alternatives to either remove themselves from the Lens mailing list, or pay for the magazine itself. That $2 surcharge was factored into the one-year or 26-week subscription. To cover the cost of Lens, the subscribers would lose a portion of the publications they were promised.
The terms of the settlement will reach a final resolution in August 2017. It has already been established, however, that any affected Massachusetts subscriber of Gatehouse Media could either receive the entire subscription they initially paid for, or receive a refund. The class action covers any claimant who was subjected to the premium surcharges and did not receive their entire one-year or 26-week subscriptions between April 1, 2014 and March 21, 2017.