In a continued effort to combat deceptive subscription practices, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday a significant settlement exceeding $740,000 with the online mental health service provider, Cerebral.
An investigation by the New York Office of the Attorney General (OAG) revealed that Cerebral not only imposed undue challenges on consumers trying to cancel subscriptions but also engaged in unethical practices such as manipulating online reviews.
As a consequence of these findings, Cerebral is mandated to pay $540,000 in restitution to over 16,500 New Yorkers and is required to overhaul its cancellation process to ensure greater user-friendliness.
“Making New Yorkers withstand stressful and extended delays to cancel a subscription for mental health care coverage is unacceptable. It is illegal and unfair to make consumers spend extra time or jump through hoops to try to cancel a subscription they no longer need.”
This stance aligns with James’s recent legal action against SiriusXM, where she filed a lawsuit against the company for trapping consumers in subscriptions through intentionally prolonged and burdensome cancellation procedures.
The lawsuit aimed at SiriusXM sought both restitution and penalties for violations of New York’s business laws.
The OAG discovered that the company exploited delays in cancellation processing to levy additional charges. This included billing consumers for an extra month’s service when the delay extended into a new billing cycle.
The settlement underscores the New York Attorney General’s commitment to holding companies accountable for transparent and consumer-friendly practices, particularly as subscription services become increasingly prevalent in various industries.
In an era where simplicity and clarity in contracts and terms are crucial, such legal actions aim to protect consumers from unfair business practices.