sued over fraud sued over fraud

The suit alleges that deliberately misleads customers into thinking old school friends want to contact them in order to boost membership.

If you've ever wondered about the veracity of claims from websites that a long-lost friend is desperate to get in touch with you if only you'd pony up the dough for a full membership, you'll be pleased to hear that you're not alone.

According to an article over on Ars Technica, US-based school chum stalkathon has found itself the target of a class action lawsuit from disgruntled users who believe they were tricked into paying for a membership to get in touch with non-existent individuals.

Anthony Michaels filed the suit after paying for a full time membership in response to repeated e-mails claiming that long-lost friends were trying to get in touch with him via the website. After paying, however, Michaels was disappointed to find that he didn't have a single genuine message waiting for him – and all the visitors to his profile were complete strangers.

Accusing the United Online-owned company of intentional and negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and fraudulent concealment, Michaels argues that “intended to deceive, and did deceive Plaintiff and the Class by concealing and failing to disclose the fact that the individuals, members, and/or users who were making attempts to contact Plaintiff and the Class were not former classmates.

As well as seeking damages for himself and other members of the class, Michaels is hoping to get a ruling on whether the company's actions violate the California Business and Professions Code – a shrewd move that means even if the class is not granted damages the judge could still force the company to change its ways.

Do you believe that all such “find a long-lost friend/relative/lover” sites are set up to scam people out of membership fees, or are there just a few bad apples spoiling the bunch? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Arkanrais 13th November 2008, 09:25 Quote
They're all scams.
I hope this one gets sued into oblivion.
The Infamous Mr D 13th November 2008, 09:32 Quote
My philosophy on the whole long-lost friend/relative/lover debate...

They're long-lost for a reason.
Aterius Gmork 13th November 2008, 09:40 Quote
Good thing they cannot scam me - that would require friends I'd made at school or whatever publicity they advertise.
specofdust 13th November 2008, 10:20 Quote
I don't get it tbh. I mean, I'm at uni and personally the people I didn't keep up with from highschool, I never particularly want to see again. I just don't care about them. Why would people in their 30's and 40's care?

It's just...weird.
Garside 13th November 2008, 12:23 Quote
Boredom and curiosity, difficult to appreciate when you're 20 or 21, easier to understand when you've spent twice as long on the planet.
salesman 13th November 2008, 14:05 Quote
Yea i don't think people I knew in high school will use any of these sites to try and contact me. I believe they would try other methods, ones that are free that you don't have to pay a membership fee to use their lousy service, so yeah I think its a scam on that basis. I'm glad this guy is doing something about it, even though he might be the loneliest person that ever went to high school that's still alive, at least he's getting know for something.
C-Sniper 13th November 2008, 14:33 Quote
You guys should look up their consumer reports. not good at all.
TGImages 13th November 2008, 21:55 Quote
What's this "friends" thing I keep hearing about? ;)
bahgger 13th November 2008, 22:46 Quote
Who needs friends when you have Left 4 Dead?!
Amon 14th November 2008, 03:20 Quote
What if you were homeschooled?
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