Bryan Cohen Jan. 10, 2013, 7:29pm
DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced an agreement Wednesday with eMusic.com, a subscription-based online music seller that allegedly charged monthly fees to Iowans who were inadvertently enrolled.
The New York-based eMusic agreed to provide $40,000 in refunds to Iowa consumers, make its enrollment procedures more transparent and take affirmative steps to avoid charging Iowans who never intended to enroll in an eMusic program.
Some Iowa consumers were enrolled in an eMusic subscription program since as long as 2002 and paid monthly fees without downloading music. eMusic charges $12 to $32 in monthly membership fees, with some consumers paying between $500 and $900 over several years for unused memberships. One consumer paid more than $1,600 in fees since 2002 without ever downloading music.
While some consumers complained about being unknowingly enrolled, Miller said that some long-time Iowa members were satisfied with the provided services.
"This illustrates, yet again, the importance of paying close attention to online transactions that may include an enrollment feature that leads to monthly charges," Miller said. "Consumers who closely examine their credit card and bank statements for unauthorized or unwanted charges can save themselves headaches and money."
Under the terms of the agreement, eMusic must send notices to Iowa consumers who are paying monthly fees but have not used the service in two months. eMusic will confirm whether the consumers want to continue the memberships. Consumers who want to discontinue or fail to respond will cease being billed. eMusic will also send annual membership notices to consumers who made six monthly payments without downloading music with information on how to cancel.
eMusic will pay the state $3,000 for consumer fraud enforcement. eMusic denied any wrongdoing or liability as part of the agreement.