Over 1500 Vermont consumers may receive more than $160,000 from Active Network, LLC, a Texas-based company that provides an online platform for individuals to register for races and other recreational activities. The refunds stem from Active’s deceptive method of signing consumers up for its discount membership program – ActiveAdvantage – during online registration for races.
Vermonters who registered for races were often later charged between $59 and $65 annually for ActiveAdvantage. Active charged the credit cards that consumers used when they registered for a race or event. Less than 10 percent of these consumers ever utilized the “benefits” of ActiveAdvantage.
Consumers who were charged for ActiveAdvantage told state authorities that the charges were: “a complete surprise;” “I had not joined knowingly;” and “I was forced to sign up when I paid for the race,” according to Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell. Sorrell noted that “businesses may not deceptively enroll consumers in programs with recurring charges when their credit card information has been collected for a different purchase.” He also advised consumers to “carefully read the terms of anything that they purchase online and vigilantly examine credit card statements for unexpected charges.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Active will: (1) offer a full refund of all amounts paid by each Vermonter who was charged for ActiveAdvantage; (2) pay $25,000 to the State; and (3) going forward, clearly distinguish registrations for discount membership programs from the registration for events or the purchase of other goods and services. All consumers entitled to a refund will receive an email from Active before the end of the year. To receive a refund, consumers must respond to that email with their name and address (where a check can be sent).
Consumers who have questions should contact the Consumer Assistance Program at 1-800-649-2424 or 802-656-3183.