Dozens of Magazine Publishers Face Class Action Lawsuit for Illegally Selling Mailing Lists to Third-Parties
In over two dozen lawsuits filed last week in federal court in Michigan, subscribers to The Economist, Newsweek, Forbes, and dozens of other popular magazines accuse the publishers of selling mailing lists to political organizations, aggressive advertisers, and non-profit companies, resulting in a barrage of unwanted junk mail.
Not What the Subscribers Signed For
The wave of class action lawsuits alleges that the selling of subscriber information is a violation of Michigan’s privacy laws. The plaintiffs, who are all Michigan residents, are requesting that publishers such as Ogden Communications, PGA Magazine, and Harvard Business Publishing cease selling their mailing lists. Additionally, the plaintiffs seek to impose a substantial penalty of up to $5,000 for every Michigan subscriber.
Along with undesired junk mail, the plaintiffs allege that the selling of mailing lists endangers vulnerable members of society.
As per a class action lawsuit filed Friday, anyone could purchase a CNET customer list containing the personal details of all women in Michigan over the age of 60 who earn $80,000 per year or more and subscribe to CNET magazine.
Publishers’ “Side Hustle”
The class action lawsuits, which were all brought by the same attorney, allege that publishers benefit at the expense of their subscribers.
In addition, the subscribers assert that the publishers have violated their statutory right to privacy under Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA).
Moreover, the PPPA was enacted in 1988 to protect various types of consumer information, such as customers’ reading and viewing preferences.
The class action lawsuit alleges that protecting customer information is even more critical in light of today’s $26 billion data aggregation industry.
Data aggregation is extremely difficult when customer data is sold to direct mail advertising. Apart from wasting money and causing trouble, direct-mail advertisers frequently utilize consumer information to mislead unsuspecting consumers into different scams, including bogus charities, sweepstakes, and buying clubs, according to the class action lawsuits.
Indeed, the wave of lawsuits seeks to represent thousands of Michigan residents who subscribed to various prominent publications, including Mother Earth News, The Progressive Farmer, Golf Magazine, Forbes, CNET, and Guideposts.
Editor’s Note on Mailing Lists Class Action Lawsuit 2021:
This article is written to inform you of the class action lawsuit filed against major publishers over allegedly selling mailing lists. You might also be interested in reading about the Washington Post Auto-renewal Settlement For $6.7 Million.
Case Name & No.: Pratt et al. v. Outdoor Sportsman Group, Inc., Case No. 1:21-cv-11404; Ouellette v. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., Case No. 1:21-cv-11799; Taylor v. Guideposts A Church Corporation, Case No. 2:21-cv-11791; Raymond v. Ogden Publications Inc., Caes No. 4:21-cv-11793; Eberhardt v. Newsweek LLC, Case No. 2:21-cv-11797; and, Bebber v. CNET Media, Inc., Case No. 2:21-cv-11824, etc…
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan.
Products/Services: Mailing list/Users’ private data
Allegations: Major publishers allegedly sold mailing lists to third parties for personal gains
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