2nd Tori Belle membership fee class-action filed in Washington
A second class-action has been filed against Tori Belle Cosmetics in the state of Washington.
Subject matter is much the same as the first state-level class-action, filed on August 2nd.
Class Plaintiff Leslie Shon Weathers claims she was improperly charged $9 a month for 25 months.
Tori Belle charges affiliates $9 a month as an ongoing membership fee.
Weathers, a Texas resident, claims she joined Tori Belle in January 2020.
In January 2020, Plaintiff joined Tori Belle as an Affiliate and placed an order for approximately $18 of products.
Plaintiff signed the Agreement, but never became active in Tori Belle: she never sold any product, nor recruited any other salespeople as part of her downline.
She was aware only of the first $9 charge, which gave her access to the Tori Belle website. She was unaware that Tori Belle continued to quietly charge her credit card each month.
For 25 months after the month in which she signed up to be an Affiliate, Tori Belle continued to charge her $9 each month.
On August 11, 2022, Plaintiff emailed Tori Belle and asked the company to cancel her account.
On August 15, 2022, Tori Belle again charged Plaintiff a $9 fee.
$9 a month might be easy to miss, but not seeing it on your CC statement for 25 consecutive months? That’s a bit difficult to believe.
Weathers cites Tori Belle’s Affiliate Terms, revised in 2019 and current when she signed up, which provides two reasons for termination.
1. Should an Affiliate fail to pay their monthly access fee, the Affiliate’s business will be put on suspension and they will not be eligible for commissions or bonuses for that month until all past-due access fees are paid. If the Affiliate fails to pay their access fee for three (3) consecutive months, the Affiliate Agreement will be terminated.
2. Following a Affiliate’s non-renewal of their Affiliate Agreement, termination for inactivity, (less than $300 of retail sales within a six month period), voluntary or involuntary termination of their Affiliate Agreement (all of these methods are collectively referred to as “termination”), the former Affiliate shall have no right, title, claim or interest to the marketing organization which they operated, or any commission or bonus from the personal retail sales generated by the organization.
An Affiliate whose business is terminated will lose all rights as an Affiliate.
The first clause doesn’t apply, as Weathers continued to pay her monthly fee as charged.
Weathers argues that the second clause applies, as Weathers never made any retail sales.
Tori Belle did not cease charging Affiliates monthly fees after their Agreements were terminated due to inactivity or periods of nonpayment.
Instead, Tori Belle continued charging former Affiliates monthly fees, sometimes for years after their Agreements were terminated.
Tori Belle was so aggressive in its overcharging, that some Affiliates had to cancel their credit cards to avoid being charged because their complaints to Tori Belle were ignored.
Further, Tori Belle made a business decision not to reverse erroneous charges even when Affiliates complained, opting instead to just keep the money.
Weathers seeks to establish and represent a nation-wide Class that may potentially number in the thousands.
The exact number of Class members and their addresses can be ascertained from the Defendant’s records through discovery.
If granted permission to proceed, Weathers hopes to establish
(a) Whether Defendant violated its own Agreement;
(b) The legality of Defendant’s assessment of fees to individuals who had separated from the company; and
(c) Whether Plaintiff and Class members were damaged as a result of Defendant’s practices
I did note that Weather’s own overcharging over 24 months amounts to $216. The filed Class Complaint states:
The amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5,000,000, exclusive of interest and costs.
Even if there were 10,000 Tori Belle affiliates who were overcharged $216 each, that would still only come to $2.1 million.
I don’t know how many affiliates Tori Belle has had over the years, but I think we might be overshooting a bit here.
In any event, Tori Belle filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 3rd. Weathers’ class-action was filed on August 16th.
As I understand it this subjects Weathers’ proposed class-action to an automatic stay, pending resolution of Tori Belle’s Chapter 11 proceedings.
I’ll keep an eye on the case docket for any updates.