bigfishBig Fish is being accused of misleading customers about the true cost of a game membership that’s offered as free, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday.

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status in Seattle’s U.S. District Court, was filed by the law offices of Clifford A. Cantor in Sammamish, Wash. on behalf of plaintiff Carolyn Carnahan.

In the filing, the plaintiff accuses the Seattle-based casual games studio of knowingly deceiving customers. In her particular case, she enrolled in a membership program, costing $7.59 a month, while purchasing another game.

Her attorney claims that she paid the monthly fee for 18 months without noticing the charge on her credit card. At that point, she contacted Big Fish Games and demanded a refund, but was only refunded for a year’s worth of payments.

A Big Fish spokeswoman did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

At the time of check-out, customers must click on a hyperlink labeled “See Details” in order to discover the terms of the deal. Big Fish Games “provides no warning whatsoever during the checkout process that the customer will be charged on a monthly recurring basis,” the lawsuit says.

Here is how the Free Trial is presented, according to the website today:

big fish checkout

Here is what a customer sees if they click on “See Details.”

bigfish see details

“In short, because of BFG’s omissions, it is virtually certain that there is no informed consent or meeting of the minds as to the purchase of this membership program,” the lawsuit says. Carnahan’s attorneys go on to claim that the Better Business Bureau is only able to publish 30 percent of complaints about the company due to the high volume. Many of those complaints have to do about the membership fees, it claims.

The plaintiff is seeking damages to be determined at trial, attorney fees, and other relief.

Carolyn Carnaha Vs. Big Fish

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  • Joe Gamer

    I like BigFish game titles but I had to stop using them too. They do try and trick you into their Game Club and I can’t stand the Collectors Edition nonsense. They present bogus stats trying to make you believe that Collectors Editions are their most popular games but any informal investigation with their community proves otherwise. To bad they had to play games and try and trick the “stupid consumer” instead of just selling titles at fair prices.

  • Diane Fry

    i have allso benn duped, after seeing a direct debit on my bank statement, for which i hadn’t purchased a game i am going to the bank and cancel this illegal direct debit from my account

  • bevygram

    Buyer beware…. don’t you all know to read the fine print? FREE? If it sounds too good to be true it usually is. All you people should READ the additional information and then you wouldn’t be getting charged for something you really do not want. Usually a “FREE” trial for 30 days mean you will be charged after that. LOL. I saw that too but wasn’t dumb enough to fall for it.

    • Frank Almerman

      That’s not the issue Bevygram and you clearly don’t understand what is happening. You are automatically selected to join this free club at purchase. These aren’t people not realizing that it isn’t always free – it’s people not knowing they joined at all. Stop being an idiot and pay attention. You’re messing up the gene pool.

      • Mia

        It clearly states that it’s FREE for 30 days and if you want to continue it will cost you a monthly charge, unless you cancel the membership. Unless I’m reading it wrong, it’s like ANY OTHER gimmick now a days…if you don’t cancel as it states in the details, then you will be charged, even if you don’t use the membership, you have to cancel it. Just like with NETFLIX etc, you may get 30 days free, but then you are charged every month after that 30days, unless cancelled. Am I missing something here?

      • reneeroseholland

        And its not just about that. Big Fish continues to take money even AFTER you cancel.

  • Izzy Madd

    Me. As of today quite like big fish because of a massive loop hole I am getting back their profits and hitting them right where it hurts. And will keep on doing so as I’m breaking no law or breaching no systems. It is above board and legal.

  • reneeroseholland

    Attorneys and law enforcement should and need to be aware that this company continues to steal money from accounts AFTER the customer has cancelled their membership. Many complaints are about being deceptive about the game club, but it goes deeper than that. Big Fish deducted $6.99 per month on several inactive non-membership accounts of mine. There are people who forget or do not cancel their membership but all of my families accts WERE canceled. ALL of them had zero memberships but Big Fish stole the money anyways because they access still to the credit card information. One acct racked up a $79. There are many many stories of unauthorized debits. This is stealing.

    • D.R.Bradley

      My account was charged AFTER I had my debit card number changed by my bank! (only recourse to stop the charges after I cancelled) How is that even possible if not blatant fraud? 11 charges were reimbursed only after the bank threatened fraud charges.

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