Print 23 comment(s) - last by FITCamaro.. on Jun 12 at 8:49 AM

Doctored e-mails and memos may turn the tide in sweeping class-action suit

A Minneapolis lawyer has admitted that he altered e-mails and a memo while representing Best Buy in a pending class action suit.

The Minnesota-based electronics retailer stands accused of enrolling at least 100,000 consumers in MSN's Internet access service, in many cases without the subscriber's knowledge.

The 2003 lawsuit charges that both Best Buy and Microsoft perpetrated a scam beginning in 1999 by fraudulently converting customers from free trial accounts to costly MSN subscriptions, without getting the customers' consent.

The complaint states that free trial CDs were included with PCs sold at the retailer. The MSN CDs were scanned at the time of sale, purportedly for "inventory" purposes. However, the companies allegedly conspired to attach the consumers' credit card information to the free accounts, allowing MSN to begin charging consumers as soon as their trial periods expired.

The Associated Press now reports that one of the lawyers representing Best Buy in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit -- Timothy block of the prominent Minneapolis firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi -- falsified documents in the case, though his motives are still unclear. The law firm, which includes Best Buy board member Elliott Kaplan as one of its senior partners, has filed a motion to withdraw from the case. A hearing on the matter has been set for June 22.

Block's attorney said the lawyer is on medical leave while he seeks treatment for stress and depression.

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This is BS
By FITCamaro on 6/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: This is BS
By phattyboombatty on 6/11/2007 12:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
I hate "free" trials that automatically turn into a paid subscription at the end of the trial. This scheme intentionally preys on customers who will forget in thirty days (almost everyone) to cancel the free trial. Any purchase should always requires an affirmative action by the customer, not the lack of any action. These types of "free" trials should be made illegal because the whole idea behind them is to trick consumers into making a purchase they do not want.

RE: This is BS
By Rike on 6/11/2007 4:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
While I abhor the apparent wrong doing by Best Buy and Mircosoft in this case, additional legislation is not the answer. What they did is already illegal.

Free trials are, in fact, a contract between the consumer and the vendor with certain options for the consumer to terminate the contract. The terms should be in plain language and the sales rep should not lie or dissemble about the terms. If a consumer doesn't exercise their option, it doesn't make much sense for the consumer to blame the vendor.

Do "free trail" contracts take advantage of human nature? Absolutely, just like many business endeavors. If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't sign it. If you don't understand the terms of the contract, don't sign it.

RE: This is BS
By phattyboombatty on 6/11/2007 5:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
You're right that the buyer should bare some responsibility for knowing the terms of the contract he's entering into. But, if the vendor wants to enter into this type of contract, it shouldn't be allowed to market it as a "free" trial. All vendors should be forced to advertise the contract as, for example, 12-month Service Contract for Total Cost of $300 With the Option to Terminate Contract At No Cost Within 30 Days.
If the sole reason for structuring a contract a certain way is to trick a high percentage of consumers into purchasing services they don't want, the whole "buyer beware" argument doesn't fly. There's no reason that in this day and age consumers have to constantly be on the lookout for vendors trying to fool them into purchasing stuff they don't want.

RE: This is BS
By FITCamaro on 6/12/2007 8:49:13 AM , Rating: 1
So what do you think you should do? Don't sign up for it. Just because you're forgetful and don't cancel it, doesn't mean it should be made illegal. Thats just another example of people expecting the government to handle everything for them.

RE: This is BS
By Bonrock on 6/11/2007 12:57:15 PM , Rating: 1
I bought a computer from Best Buy during the timeframe stated by this lawsuit. I was explicitly asked if I wanted to sign up for the MSN trial, and I was also explicitly told that if I didn't cancel it after a month, I would be charged a monthly subscription fee.

It sounds to me like some customers weren't paying attention or forgot to cancel the trial, and now they're trying to see if they can squeeze money out of Best Buy and Microsoft to make up for their own mistakes.

RE: This is BS
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/11/2007 2:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on the individual store. Some stores have higher ethical employees and management then other stores. The higher the ethics of the staff the more and better it would be explained to you. Best Buy teaches selling like a game, and they should, people remember rules and how to play a game fast and better then the rules and procedures of work. It’s also better for the customer too, because then you know all options were presented to you (if it was sold correctly to you). However, as you know many people out there will cheat at games, life, work and everything else.

RE: This is BS
By Master Kenobi on 6/11/2007 1:37:03 PM , Rating: 5
FIT, I also worked at Best Buy and we did it exactly like they describe in the lawsuit. However I doubt Microsoft has anything to do with this. Microsoft would basically give us $20(Pulling a number out of my ass here) for every person we could get to sign up. Rather than try to convince people they needed AOL or MSN or what have you, we would just sign them up, they didnt need to agree to anything, and you would tell them if they asked about it, that its automatic and u can call a number to cancel it. AOL did this at one time as well and we did it with AOL, now AOL had faded away and MSN took its place.

The entire purpose for this is because its basically a bogus attachment that you can't give away to most people, so you scan it in, your manager loves that your helping make the bottom line, and all is good, Best Buy in general doesn't care too much, unless your classified as a Barry "Big Spender", in which case they bend over backwards because they want your money.

Thank god I left best buy before the rest of my soul was consumed.

RE: This is BS
By TimberJon on 6/11/2007 2:59:24 PM , Rating: 2
I just hate MSN in general. Its biased against other free email providers, ISP's and forums. In my opinion and experience, worse than having AOL as a provider.

I very much dislike retail systems.

RE: This is BS
By FITCamaro on 6/12/2007 8:44:03 AM , Rating: 1
Then you were breaking the law. Not Best Buy. It was company policy to explain the details of the trial. If your store didn't to get higher attachment numbers, then the store employees should be fired. Especially your manager who allowed you to deceive customers.

Every customer I signed up for it knew what they were getting into because it was company policy to tell them, to prevent shit like this. I hated working there too in the end, but I wasn't going to break the law.

And I love it how I got rated down in my original post for being honest about how it really was supposed to be (and was at my store). But then thats how people are. Rate down the guy telling the truth because they don't like to hear it since they might have been one of the idiots who didn't pay attention.

By Amiga500 on 6/11/2007 12:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
A lawyer needs an attorney?

I think there are too many of the weasels in the world.

What do you call 1 lawyer on the moon?

A problem.

What do you call 100 lawyers on the moon?

A problem.

What do you call every lawyer on the moon?

Problem solved. :-D

RE: WTF?!?!
By cruzer on 6/11/2007 2:40:03 PM , Rating: 2
What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A good start!

RE: WTF?!?!
By Tedtalker1 on 6/11/2007 2:56:56 PM , Rating: 3
What's the difference between a deer in the middle of the road and a lawyer in the middle of the road?
There's skid marks in front of the deer.

RE: WTF?!?!
By themadmilkman on 6/11/2007 3:10:20 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, yes, lawyers are dirty, bottom-feeding scum... until you need one. And then you want the dirtiest, most cut-throat one you can afford.

RE: WTF?!?!
By Chillin1248 on 6/11/2007 3:20:04 PM , Rating: 4
Four surgeons were sitting around discussing who they like to operate on.

The first surgeon said, "I like operating on librarians. When you open them up everything is in alphabetical order".

The second surgeon said, "I like operating on accountants. When you open them up everything is in numerical order".

The third surgeon said, "I like operating on electricians. When you open them up everything is color coded.

The fourth surgeon said, "I like operating on lawyers."

The other three surgeons looked at each other in disbelief. One of them asked why.

The fourth surgeon replied, "Because they are heartless, gutless, spineless, and their ass and head are interchangeable".


RE: WTF?!?!
By frobizzle on 6/11/2007 5:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
The other night I went to dinner with a lawyer. The waitress asked me what I would like. I said, "A New York Sirloin, please."
"And what type of potatoes?" she asked.
"Baked, with butter and sour cream."
She smiled. "Very good, sir. And what about the vegetable?"
I told her, "Oh, he'll just have the same thing."

Motive is key
By Cobra Commander on 6/11/2007 11:38:06 AM , Rating: 3
That's jacked up.
But at this point the lawyer's true motive is paramount. Was this MSN-induced or BestBuy or both?

RE: Motive is key
By therealnickdanger on 6/11/2007 12:05:50 PM , Rating: 3
Winning a landmark case often means getting a big promotion. The motive could have been that simple. Either way, that's quite a risk to take.

What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?

A good start.

*ba-dum ching*

RE: Motive is key
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/11/2007 2:43:36 PM , Rating: 4
I think it more like:
*ba-dum tisssssss* not *ba-dum ching*

I am tired of this
By Martimus on 6/11/2007 1:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
I have been going to Best Buy because it is convienent, but when you actually buy the product, the cashiers always try to push something on you. I have avoided going there more and more, just like I stopped going to Radio Shack because they always asked for my personal information and I got sick of telling them I don't want to give it to them. I have noticed that the parking lot is getting more and more empty every time I do go there, so I doubt I am the only person who has gotten tired of their questionable tactics and just avoids the place.

RE: I am tired of this
By TimberJon on 6/11/2007 3:04:51 PM , Rating: 3
Back when I was building my first system, Best buy and CompUSA were my usual daily stops. Id check prices and just browse the latest stuff, especially the sound equipment and demo PC's running games. When I used to work near a best buy, I'd go all the time just to browse on my lunch break.

Nowadays.. Im scared to even go into either store. Now that I know about (and live near) Mwave and know about other great online stores. pcuniverse, newegg and even the old pricewatch.

My heart bleeds....
By P4blo on 6/11/2007 12:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
"Block's attorney said the lawyer is on medical leave while he seeks treatment for stress and depression."

He's been learning from Paris Hilton. Wonder if he'll manage to dodge the cooler.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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