Tribune Publishing Company LLC, owner of Chicago Tribune and many other newspapers nationwide, has been hit with a lawsuit alleging deceptive billing practices for its print editions.
The suit was filed in July by a Tribune print subscriber, Pat Arnold. It remains to be seen if the suit will attain class action status, and if there will be any real impact. The case is on file in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Country Department, Chancery division.
Arnold alleges that the company “automatically charged subscribers who received print editions of Defendant’s newspapers extra for materials already included in the subscribers’ subscriptions.”
Also, the Tribune Company acted to “increase its revenues by charging subscribers extra for materials already included in their subscriptions (the “Miscellaneous Materials”) and paying itself for the Miscellaneous Materials from the subscription fees already paid by the subscribers,” the complaint continues, adding that it shortened the length of subscribers’ paid subscriptions as a result of the payments it provided to itself for the Miscellaneous Materials.
It is not clear what these “Miscellaneous Materials” were; perhaps they consisted of supplements, or digital access. But the suit claims they were included in the price of subscriptions and should not have been separately billed.
Arnold has subscribed to the Tribune for more than 20 years.
In addition to seeking class status, the suit asks for an order declaring that the Tribune Company violated the Consumer Fraud Act.