AOL sued by users over pop-up adverts

Out-Law News | 28 Jun 2000 | 12:00 am |

A group of AOL subscribers in the US using an hourly plan internet service are suing the ISP over time lost to pop-up advertisements. According to a lawsuit filed in a US court, at least 2.5 million subscribers have been overcharged by $15 to $20 million because pop-ups appear after they begin paying hourly rates for additional time beyond their monthly limits.

It is argued that AOL is at fault for not telling subscribers that advertising time is counted towards their charges, being the time involved clicking to remove the ads which appear. The subscribers pay a set sum for 3 or 5 hours of service per month and pay an hourly rate for extra time spent on-line.

The lawyer for the subscribers said that AOL is “collecting incredible sums of money from advertisers… At the same time they’re charging you for something they’re getting paid to put on the screen.” The company has since changed the operation of the hourly service.

The Miami court judge rejected AOL’s plea to dismiss the case and has given authority for a class action to proceed.