Free-trial users claim they’ve been betrayed 


Claire Randall, heroine of the Starz smash hit time-travel bodice-ripper Outlander, finds herself torn from what she recognizes as reality and thrust into a confusing new demesne. If Tawanna Roberts’ account is correct, she and others like her must feel like they’re going crazy, too.

According to Roberts’ recently filed class action complaint against Starz, the American video content provider twisted reality by offering a free one-week trial subscription that can be canceled at any time – but that trial subscription was difficult or impossible to quit. On top of that, Roberts and her fellow plaintiffs assert, Starz begins charging a regular monthly subscription fee without ever notifying the “customer.”

Conflicting Accounts

Roberts says she signed up for the trial in early September 2017 and attempted to cancel the offer two days later. Starz not only ignored her request, but started charging her $8.99 on a monthly basis, no matter how often she complained about the situation.

The scenario that Roberts describes is somewhat prosaic compared with certain consumer complaints she quotes in her action. Consider one Markisha Lewis, who claims that when she called to cancel her order, she was told she had two subscriptions – one through her phone and the other through her computer.

“I explained to [customer service] that I didn’t even have computer access,” Lewis asserts. “So that made zero sense yet she was adamant that I still owed the 9.71 that I was charged.” If her claim is true, it sounds maddening.

The Takeaway

Roberts and her fellow plaintiffs are suing Starz in the Southern District of New York for deceptive acts violating the New York General Business Law, and breach of express warranty. They seek damages and attorney costs.