Microsoft sued over Internet billing

Ron Resnick (
Fri, 07 Nov 1997 14:38:30 +0200

Honestly, how does *anyone* justify $75 million in damages
over a $275 billing dispute? It's not like you can claim 'pain
and anguish' here...or maybe you can :-)



Toronto Star - November 7, 1997

Microsoft sued over Internet billing

$75 million sought for alleged

By Valerie Lawton
Toronto Star Business Reporter

Two computer users have launched a class
action lawsuit accusing Microsoft Corp. of
Internet billing irregularities.

Michael Rudder, a Toronto research lawyer,
and Mark LaRochelle, a lawyer in Ottawa,
are the plaintiffs in the suit seeking
more than $75 million in damages.

A statement of claim was filed in Toronto

``It alleges irregularities by Microsoft's
MSN Network in its billing practices for
Internet access services,'' said Doug
Barnett, the lawyer handling the suit.

Rudder alleges that there were many
discrepancies in his billing statements.

These included charges for connections
made on days he wasn't using the Internet,
according to the statement of claim.

A Microsoft representative ``was unable to
provide an explanation as to these
discrepancies . . . and also refused to
reverse or credit back to his credit card
the disputed charges,'' the statement

Rudder estimated that he was overcharged
more than $275.

LaRochelle, meanwhile, says his problems
involved trying to cancel his subscription
to MSN.

The court document claims that he
repeatedly told Microsoft he didn't want
the service any more but charges were
still made to his credit card month after

A Canadian spokesperson for Microsoft
couldn't be reached for comment late
yesterday afternoon. An official at
Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond,
Wash., said she hadn't heard anything
about the lawsuit.

Last year, America Online Inc. settled
class-action lawsuits alleging that the
world's largest online information service
overbilled millions of customers.

The deal provided free online time for
customers and AOL agreed to improve
customer disclosures relating to billing
and cancellation practices.

The AOL lawsuits stemmed from such
practices as billing for online time by
adding 15 seconds each time a customer
signed on and rounding up the total to the
next minute.