SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's office announced a settlement on Thursday with a Delaware-based video game company that allegedly engaged in deceptive and unfair practices.
Oberon Media Inc. allegedly signed up customers under false pretenses with difficult to cancel recurring charges. Consumers alleged that charges continued beyond the terms they agreed to and that canceling the arrangements was difficult despite being led to believe that they could cancel at any time.
Oberon Media sells video games at I-Play.com and through third-party websites like MSN.com, Yahoo.com and Comcast.net. The games are downloaded individually or through subscriptions that allow customers a certain number of games each month.
Assistant Attorney General Jake Bernstein said that the consumers were stuck with subscriptions that lasted between two and 12 months. The subscriptions allegedly converted automatically into ongoing, month-to-month plans and stopping the charges was intentionally difficult.
Under the terms of a consent agreement filed in King County Superior Court, Oberon agreed to honor cancellation requests and refund charges initiated after a contractually approved request for cancellation is received; obtain a consumer's permission before an initial charge is placed on a consumer's credit or debit card for any game service membership of undefined length, including month-to-month subscriptions; send notices to customers to explain how to cancel membership 10 days before they are charged for services beyond the initial subscription; conspicuously and clearly disclose membership service terms prior to accepting payments from customers; and pay $50,000 in attorney fees and costs.
An additional $25,000 penalty is suspended upon Oberon's compliance with the agreement.
Oberon denied the allegations made by McKenna's office.