By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
I’m not sure whether to mark this one down as a ridiculous WTF lawsuit or to think that maybe the plaintiff might have a point here. So I thought I would write this one up for GAS and let you, the readers, decide.
A user of Classmates.com, Anthony Michaels, was told by the site that former school friends were trying to contact him and that he should spend $15 and upgrade to the premium membership to collect those messages. But, and you guessed it boys and girls, when he upgraded, there were no messages! The “your old school buddies are trying to contact you” line was just all one big marketing ploy to get Anthony to upgrade.
Now some people like you and me would fume for a little while, maybe fire off an angry email to Classmates, then after a while, settle down and write the money off. After all, it is only $15! It’s not a staggeringly huge amount that will bankrupt you (it costs more these days for a pizza or a cinema ticket). But Anthony decided instead to turn into the legal caped crusader and filed a class action lawsuit (pdf file) alleging that Classmates deceived him and lots of other people – they’re mad and they want their money back!
The lawsuit is going after Classmates for deceptive advertising which is where I think Michaels has a point. But on the other hand, it makes Michaels look a bit….how can I put this….silly? He loses a mere $15 and he responds with a class action lawsuit on behalf of other people he doesn’t even know of? He kind of comes out of this looking like Tony No-Pals. “Nobody sent me an email so I think I’ll sue”
An extreme over-reaction or standing on a legal principle? GAS readers, over to you.