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By Lookout Staff

March 5, 2021 -- The owner of the popular social networking site will pay up to $550,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a task force that includes the Santa Monica City Attorneys office.

The consumer protection lawsuit filed by the California Automatic Renewal Task Force (CART) alleged the website illegally charged customers "automatically-renewed subscription charges."

"Under California law, online businesses must clearly and conspicuously disclose all automatic renewal charges and terms and get the affirmative consent of those recurring charges from the consumer," the City Attorneys office said.

"Companies must also provide a clear acknowledgment of those terms and information on how to cancel, as well as provide a way for consumers to cancel easily online," they said.

Under the settlement approved Monday in San Diego Superior Court,'s owner PeopleConnect, Inc. will pay $400,000 in civil penalties and costs, officials said.

They must also pay up to $150,000 in restitution "to customers whose payments were automatically renewed without their consent."

The company will send out restitution notices by email to eligible consumers, the City attorneys office said.

"The company cooperated with the investigation and is in the process of changing its website to comply with California’s auto-renewal requirements," officials said.

The changes include displaying the automatic renewal terms more clearly and requiring consumers to give their consent by checking a separate checkbox before charging a renewal fee.

In addition to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, the CART team consists of the Santa Clara and San Diego District Attorney’s Offices and the District Attorney’s Offices of Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties.

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