OAKLAND, Calif. – (CN) – A class action claiming that MyLife.com, a social-networking website dedicated to reconnecting old classmates, is a scam can move ahead, a federal judge ruled.
MyLife attracts clients by sending mass email solicitations saying that “someone” was searching for them, according to the complaint. The class said MyLife hooks users with a “free trial period,” then charges a fee to show an ultimately bogus list of names.
MyLife is really a troupe of hucksters in the latest incarnation of another website called Classmates.com, the complaint says.
One plaintiff, John Clerkin, said he paid $21.95 for a one-month subscription, but found that he had been charged more than $150 when he tried to cancel after no one made contact.
MyLife first refused to refund the money, but then paid Clerkin $104.55, the suit says.
Another plaintiff, Veronica Mendez, signed up for a $5 trial subscription but was charged $60. No one she knew was actually searching for her either.
In addition to overbilling, the website hacked into subscribers’ computers and spammed contacts in their email address books with more solicitations, according to the February complaint.
Consumer forums cited in the complaint have testimonials from other subscribers, including one who created a profile and learned that seven people were looking for an individual named “sfsf sdgfsdgs.”
MyLife, six individual defendants, and Oak Venture Capital, a firm the complaint says provided MyLife with a $25 million bankroll, moved for dismissal last month on jurisdictional grounds.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken upheld the claim that MyLife’s initial email solicitations violated Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The plaintiffs have adequately pleaded that they were sold fake names and useless information, and that they were billed for a different subscription than the one they selected.
The individual defendants and Oak Venture Capital are off the hook, however, because the “complaint does not explain what these defendants did to participate in the alleged scheme,” according to the Monday decision.
In addition to that claim, the complaint alleges breach of contract, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
The ruling also consolidated this case with two fraud actions against MyLife.com. The next hearing of the consolidated amended class action is Sept. 1.
Wilken amended the order Tuesday to change a case number cited for consolidation.
MyLife.com is represented by John Shaeffer with Los Angeles-based Lathrop & Gage.
The plaintiffs are represented by L. Timothy Fisher of Bursor & Fisher in Walnut Creek, Calif.