A group of AOL subscribers in the US using an hourly plan
internet service are suing the ISP over time lost to pop-up
advertisements. According to a lawsuit filed in a US court, at
least 2.5 million subscribers have been overcharged by $15 to $20
million because pop-ups appear after they begin paying hourly rates
for additional time beyond their monthly limits.28 Jun 2000
It is argued that AOL is at fault for not telling subscribers that advertising time is counted towards their charges, being the time involved clicking to remove the ads which appear. The subscribers pay a set sum for 3 or 5 hours of service per month and pay an hourly rate for extra time spent on-line.
The lawyer for the subscribers said that AOL is “collecting incredible sums of money from advertisers… At the same time they’re charging you for something they’re getting paid to put on the screen.” The company has since changed the operation of the hourly service.
The Miami court judge rejected AOL’s plea to dismiss the case and has given authority for a class action to proceed.