|$12.6 Million Settlement Proposed in WTSO Wine Flash Site Deceptive Sales Lawsuit -- Implications for anyone selling wine online| September 27, 2017
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September 27, 2017
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$12.6 Million Settlement Proposed in WTSO Wine Flash Site Deceptive Sales Lawsuit
Implications for anyone selling wine online
Wines 'Til Sold Out (WTSO) is close to settling a class action lawsuit for $12.6 million in cash and consumer credits.
A proposed settlement has been agreed upon by WTSO and a group of law firms who argued that the flash wine site's sales tactics were deceptive.
The lawsuit was filed on March 15, 2016 in New Jersey U.S. District Court against the Ashburn Corporation of Pennsauken, NJ, which also operates under the dba, Roger Wilco liquor store. WTSO is an operation of Roger Wilco. Ashburn's CEO is Joe Arking.
The defendant denies all wrongdoing. As part of the settlement, the attorneys involved have agreed to make no public comment. According to the settlement:
"The Parties understand and acknowledge that this Agreement constitutes a compromise and settlement of disputed claims. No action taken by the Parties, either previously or in connection with the negotiations or proceedings connected with this Agreement, shall be deemed or construed to be an admission of the truth or falsity of any claims or defenses heretofore made or an acknowledgment or admission by any party of any fault, liability or wrongdoing of any kind whatsoever to any other party." Jonathan H. Newman -- former head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the owner of a Philadelphia-area wine distributorship -- was also named in the complaint.
He was later dropped from the lawsuit because he has no ownership in WTSO or its associated companies. Newman, as noted in the lawsuit, wrote most of the glowing wine reviews for wines offered on WTSO, including wines his distributorship sold to the site.
140 pages of the proposed settlement was submitted to the District Court on June 28, 2017. No further court action has been recorded on the court docket. This is not unusual because the certification of a class action settlement involves numerous, time-consuming steps. Those are described farther along in this article.
Suit accuses WTSO of misleading by using inflated "original" prices among other deceptions
The image, above, was submitted in the class action complaint as an example of WTSO's misleading promotion. Premium subscribers, who log in with their accounts link (below), can view a sidebar article explaining the deceptive practices in the image, above.
Wines & Vines published an article with details on the original accusations on Jan. 9, 2017. That article is at this link
The original court filings are available to Wine Executive News Premium subscribers
The remainder of this 1,519 word article along with court filings is available to Wine Executive News Premium Subscribers.
Also in this article (at Wine Executive News):
How are the proceeds from the class action to be split up?
Parsing the consumer awards and classes
These are the wines which qualify for the consumer credits award
The Class Action Certification Process
Full Court Filings (Premium subscriber access)
Original Class Action complaint
Joint Motion for Settlement Approval
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