Big 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:
Here is what a customer sees if they click on “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.