HelloFresh Sued for Allegedly Misleading Subscription Enrollment Process

Amanda McClure filed suit on Wednesday in the Northern District of California against defendant Grocery Delivery E-Services USA Inc. (HelloFresh). The class action complaint alleges that food delivery service HelloFresh engaged in an illegal automatic renewal subscription scheme.

HelloFresh is an “international food delivery company that, among other activities, delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes as an alternative to traditional grocery shopping.” Consumers can sign up for subscriptions with the defendant where they will be sent food delivery kits each week and payments are charged to the consumers on a weekly basis.

The complaint explains that California’s Automatic Renewal Law requires that online retailers who partake in automatically renewing subscriptions must obtain a consumer’s affirmative consent, provide the terms of the auto-renewal in a clear and conspicuous manner, and provide a simple way for consumers to cancel their subscriptions. McClure asserts that HelloFresh’s subscription system violates each of these requirements.

When a customer signs up for a HelloFresh subscription, McClure claims that the defendant’s website does not detail the automatic renewal offer in a clear and conspicuous manner, that charges are made prior to the obtaining of a consumer’s affirmative consent, and that the website fails to provide an acknowledgement section for the terms of the subscription and a cancellation policy.

The complaint contends that the defendant’s subscription process is misleading, and the cancellation process is equally as confusing. McClure notes that the dark patterns used by HelloFresh are so “nefarious that [they] prompted Truth in Advertising, a consumer protection nonprofit organization, to send complaint letters to the Federal Trade Commission and Connecticut’s state regulators detailing Defendant’s deceptive marketing in full.”

McClure concludes that defendant HelloFresh “has made the deliberate decision to charge plaintiff and other similarly situated customers on a weekly basis, absent their consent under the Automatic Renewal Law (ARL), relying on consumer confusion and inertia to retain customers, combat consumer churn, and bolster its revenues.”

The complaint cites a violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, California’s False Advertising Law, California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, conversion, and unjust enrichment/restitution. The plaintiff is seeking class certification, a trial by jury, favorable judgment on each count, actual, compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, prejudgment interest, restitution, monetary relief, injunctive relief, and litigation fees.

Plaintiff McClure is represented in the litigation by Bursor & Fisher, P.A. and Gucovschi Rozenshteyn, PLLC.