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Microsoft HealthVault Spams Users, Man Says

HACKENSACK, N.J (CN) - Microsoft promoted its HealthVault website and app with unsolicited emails, a class action alleges.

Harold Hoffman, a lawyer who has brought hundreds of class actions against various companies over the last few years, is the lead plaintiff in the complaint against Microsoft in Bergen County Court.

He filed the 12-page action on Nov. 19, one day after receiving an email about Health Vault, which Microsoft describes as a "trusted place for people to gather, store, use, and share health information online," the complaint states.

"The subject of the email was 'Your latest Microsoft Health Vault account summary,'" according to the complaint.

Hoffman says "the email contained numerous hyperlinks, most of which allowed Hoffman to view his profile, log in to an account, or otherwise utilize HealthVault goods and/or services."

The problem, Hoffman says, is that he "never requested to receive an email from HealthVault and...he has never created a HealthVault account or otherwise provided any personal information, or even an email address, to Health Vault."

Microsoft's wording of the email allegedly "insinuated that Hoffman had previously created a HealthVault account and could easily unenroll or opt out of the HealthVault Account Summary email through a simple click."

But Hoffman says that the unsubscribe website was very convoluted.

"The website contained a header 'Notifications' which allowed for checking or unchecking two options: 'Send me informational updates and reminders that are related to my HealthVault account,' and 'Send me the Health Vault newsletter.' Nowhere did 'unsubscribe' or 'unenroll' appear on the website," the complaint states.

When both options listed under "Notifications" are unchecked, "the website merely advises that 'your notification settings have been updated,'" Hoffman says.

"At no time is a subscription opt-out confirmed," the complaint continues.

Hoffman says Microsoft "co-opted [his] private email address for its own Health Vault commercial and/or advertising purposes without [his] consent and against his will."

Also, "by not permitting unenrollment or unsubscription pursuant to the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations, defendant misrepresented the terms of their solicitation," the complaint states.

Hoffman hopes to represent "all New Jersey recipients of defendant's 'spam' email solicitations during the six year period prior to the filing of this action."

Microsoft did not return a request for comment on the filing.

The class seeks damages for violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and conversion. Englewood, N.J.-based Hoffman filed the complaint with attorney Raphael Rosenblatt.

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