Consumer Law

Major legal publishers to offer law firm refunds for automatic renewals

Without admitting any violation of consumer protection laws, two major legal publishers have voluntarily agreed to the Florida state attorney general’s request that they change their business practices concerning automatic subscription renewals and shipments of materials that were not specifically ordered.

West Publishing Corporation and Thomson Reuters Tax Accounting Inc. will also pay up to $6 million in law firm refunds in a voluntary settlement of allegations made by AG Pam Bondi, reports Legal Newsline.

Two other big-name legal publishers, CCH and Matthew Bender and Company, Inc., reached similar settlements with Bondi in 2013 and 2009, respectively.

A press release by the state attorney general’s office provides further details and links to a copy of the 122-page agreement (PDF).

At issue in the latest matter were materials distributed in hard-copy, compact disk and eBook formats through automatic subscription renewals and automatic shipments. Because the companies did not adequately disclose these renewals in advance and obtain affirmative consent, they violated the state Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Bondi contended.

The publishers will send claim forms to firms eligible for refunds.

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