LinkedIn Sued Over Automatic Subscription Renewals

An Oregon resident who signed up for a free trial of LinkedIn's premium service says in a new lawsuit that the company wrongly charged her more than $1,100 over a three-year period, in violation of a state law regarding automatic subscription renewals. 

“LinkedIn has made the deliberate decision to bilk plaintiff and other similarly situated customers on a monthly or yearly basis, absent their consent ... relying on consumer confusion and inertia to retain customers, combat consumer churn, and bolster its revenues,” Julie Easterbrook alleges in a class-action complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon.

Easterbrook alleges that LinkedIn violates Oregon's law by making cancellation “exceedingly difficult and unnecessarily confusing." 

She claims the company violates the state's automatic renewal law in several ways -- including by failing to adequately disclose that subscriptions are renewed, and failing to obtain subscribers' affirmative consent to recurring charges.

Easterbrook alleges that she signed up for a free trial of a monthly LinkedIn Premium Career subscription in January of 2019, and provided LinkedIn with payment information, but didn't realize that the company would charge her $29.99 per month after the free trial ended.

She alleges that she didn't notice the monthly charges until early 2021, at which point she attempted to cancel her subscription but couldn't, due to what she calls LinkedIn's “confusing cancellation policy.”

By the time she successfully terminated the service, in March of 2022, LinkedIn had charged her more than $1,100, according to her complaint.

Separately from Oregon law, the Federal Trade Commission recently warned companies to obtain consumers' explicit consent to auto-renewals, and to provide “easy and simple” cancellation tools.

The federal agency is also in the process of crafting regulations regarding “negative option” marketing -- meaning the marketing of subscription services that automatically renew.

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