Online wine seller Naked Wines has agreed to settle a consumer protection lawsuit brought by multiple district attorneys, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
Officials said in a statement on Oct. 20 that Nakedwines.com, Inc. had settled a complaint alleging the company had not followed California's Automatic Renewal Law, which mandates certain notices for customers who enroll in programs with recurring payments.
The complaint was brought by the district attorneys of Alameda, Napa, Sonoma, Shasta and San Diego counties and was filed in San Diego County Superior Court.
Naked Wines was accused of violating the necessary notices for customers who enrolled in either of two programs with recurring billing: the "Wine Angel" program, which costs $40 a month, and the "Wine Genie" program, which offers recurring deliveries of amounts set by the customer.
Customers who signed up for the programs since April, 2017 can receive a refund by making a written request to Naked Wines.
The complaint alleged that both programs did not include pre-purchase disclosures about the recurring charges, as well as failed to adequately notify consumers after they enrolled, and failed to provide a simple online way to cancel the payments.
"My office is committed to and continues to take all measures to protect consumers from businesses that fail to follow the law. In this case, we are enforcing the California Automatic Renewal Law, which has proven to be an important protection and benefit to Californians," Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement.
"Consumers should always receive the required disclosures before and after agreeing to any contract that may result in months or years of recurring charges," O'Malley added.
Naked Wines agreed to pay $650,000 in civil and investigative costs.
Officials said the company was cooperative with the investigation and had implemented changes to its disclosures and sign-up process.
Editor's note: Embarcadero Media East Bay editorial director Jeremy Walsh contributed local elements to this story.