| Added On April 23, 2010
According to, Dave Kramer of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
“A new law in California, California Business & Professions Code Section 17538, places several regulations on businesses advertising and making sales over the Internet or other electronic means of communication.”
Does www.Compete.com think it is above the law?
The synopsis goes on to read:
“Section 17538(d) states that in any transaction involving a buyer located in California, a vendor, before accepting any payment, must disclose to the buyer in writing or by electronic communication (e.g. e-mail or on-screen notice): (1) the vendor’s return and refund policy; (2) the legal name of the vendor; and (3) the complete street address from which the vendor’s business is conducted. Another provision governs the means for disclosing the vendor’s legal name and address by on-screen notice.
Section 17538(a) states that within 30 days of accepting payment for goods or services offered over the Internet, a company must (1) ship or provide the goods or services ordered; (2) provide a full refund; (3) send written notice advising the buyer of the delay and offer a refund; or (4) provide substitute goods or services and offer a refund. There are various exceptions to the thirty day provision, including one exempting companies whose advertising indicates the possibility of a delay in delivery.
Violation of either provision is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000.”
Our firm is investigating why www.Compete.com would have a Yale Graduate, Eric Austrew, refuse to honor a refund of money hours after a user goes into their site & signs up for service but then is alerted that the data requested may take up to a month to be delivered. Further, no address or 800# can be found by the average user to contact the company to dispute this practice. Our reading of the statute causes us major concern that violations may have occurred. This law was written to protect California’s internet consumers and the language is clear that companies “shall” do the above. This is not optional under California Law. Is Eric Austrew’s approach to this problem simply a public relations nightmare for the company or has there been an intentional violation of law?
Why is a company that has been valued at over $150,000,000 being such a bad corporate citizen? Shouldn’t a $150,000,000 company refund $150 to a California consumer if they know no benefit has been provided for the payment?
If a violation of BP17538 has occurred who do you think is the appropriate person to serve the jail time? Please chime in…we want to know what your thoughts are.
If you have insight into these issues or information regarding compete.com’s practices we want to hear about it. Please contact us.