(CN) - A federal judge in San Jose, Calif., granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Allstate of issuing misleading billing statements that listed more than 200,000 customers' renewal payments as due one month before the actual due date.
U.S. District Judge James Ware found that a jury could easily conclude that lead plaintiff Vlaho Miletak and other Allstate customers relied on the due date listed on their bills when they made their payments a month early, despite Allstate's claim that Miletak "did not read the explanatory materials accompanying the billing statements."
"A reasonable consumer could certainly look at the 'due date' on the billing statement and understand it to mean that payment must be due by that date," Ware wrote, adding that "reasonable minds could differ" as to whether the explanations accompanying the bill were adequate.
If it's found that Allstate fraudulently collected renewal payments, Ware said the insurer must return the interest the class members would have earned had they held the money until it was actually due.
But Ware said the class is not entitled to the return of their payments, since they did receive insurance coverage.
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