Ars Technica is reporting that a customer of Classmates.com, a people finding and social networking service, is suing them for sending deceptive emails that trick people into signing up for their paid service. Here’s an excerpt:
“Your former classmates are trying to contact you! Upgrade now to see their messages!” That’s the pitch many of us have seen from Classmates.com as a lure to pony up for a subscription. At least one former customer says that the claims are fraudulent and has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company. Depending on how the case moves forward, it could have an impact on how Classmates.com, and other sites, advertise their services.
The problem is, once you get the email and go to the site to satisfy your curiosity, you discover their free service won’t let you check the messages they claim are waiting for you, so you fork over your credit card info and sign up for their paid service only to discover there isn’t actually anyone looking for you at all. Ouch! Classmates.com’s rival, Reunion.com pulls a similarly sleazy stunt, but worse. When a new member signs up they automatically give the site permission to access their address book and spam everyone in it with a message claming that member is trying to connect with them. Hopefully this lawsuit will be a wake up call to both companies that spamming and deceptive emails are not the marketing tools reputable companies should be using!