Already reeling from falling stock prices as well as ongoing protests inspired by the 2013 documentary Blackfish, the theme park chain SeaWorld is now facing another lawsuit, this time from a group led by a Los Angeles woman claiming the company defrauds customers by automatically renewing their annual passes without proper notice.
According to a Courthouse News Service report, lead plaintiff Shery Gargir signed up at some unspecified point in the last four years for a two-year pass to SeaWorld San Diego, electing to use the park website's "EZPay" option, which charged her $28.82 up front, then collected $5.66 on a monthly basis for the duration of her two-year agreement.
When the term was up, however, the charges never stopped.
"Defendant failed, and continues to fail, to present the automatic renewal offer terms, or continuous service offer terms, in a clear and conspicuous manner," Gargir argues in her complaint, noting that SeaWorld collected $693 million in subscription revenues in the first three-quarters of 2014 alone, with "approximately 30%" of its overall ticket sales revenue being generated online. Twenty percent of revenues are said to come from within California.
Gargir is hoping to have her class action certified to cover California residents who purchased the automatically-renewing passes within the last four years, and seeks as a result to have any services rendered during that time declared an "unconditional gift."