Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release

February 4, 2014
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150

Attorney General Bondi’s Office Announces Significant Settlement with Law Book Publishers over Automatic Subscription Renewals

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that West Publishing Corporation and Thomson Reuters Tax Accounting Inc. have agreed to a settlement which provides for up to $6 million in restitution to consumers who received law books, newsletters, and other publications that the consumers had not intended to order. Automatic subscription renewals and automatic product shipments are called negative option plans. Consumers must be told clearly about the terms of such plans and agree to the terms in order for plans to be lawful under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The settlement resolves allegations that the companies placed customers into automatic subscription renewals and automated shipment plans for their publications without adequate disclosures. The publications were distributed in print, CD and eBook formats Refunds will be offered to all Florida customers who, after January 31, 2010, unknowingly paid for certain publications that were automatically shipped or for subscriptions that were automatically renewed. The companies will send claim forms to all customers who are eligible to request refunds.

The two publishers have also agreed to modify their business practices to ensure that automatic shipment plans and automatic renewal of subscriptions are put in place only after all appropriate disclosures have been provided to customers and the customers have provided affirmative consent to the terms.

This is the Attorney General’s Office’s third settlement with a large legal publishing company. Earlier agreements were reached with Matthew Bender and Company, Inc. in April 2009, and CCH in February 2013.

Follow this link to view a copy of the settlement:$file/West.pdf