June 23 (Westlaw Journals) - Sirius XM Radio’s practice of billing its customers for tax on an “Internet connectivity charge” violates the Internet Tax Freedom Act and various other laws, according to a putative California federal class-action lawsuit.
Plaintiff Joel Broida sued the satellite radio provider in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns is slated to hear Broida’s three-count complaint for breach of contract, violation of state consumer protection laws and false advertising.
Broida seeks to lead a nationwide class of all people who were charged similar fees and taxes and who they claim were overcharged for Sirius’ “Family Friendly” plan.
The complaint says part of Sirius XM’s monthly bill consists of charges for “Internet connectivity,” for which the defendant also charges taxes. This practice violates the Internet Tax Freedom Act, 47 U.S.C. § 151, which prohibits state or local taxes on Internet access, Broida alleges.
According to the complaint, Broida prepaid for two years of the Family Friendly plan based on a promise of five months of free service. At the then-advertised rate of $11.95 per month, the package should have cost $227.05, the complaint says. Instead, according to Broida, Sirius XM overcharged him by making him pay $249.95 for the package.
In addition to class certification, the plaintiff is seeking damages (including disgorgement), costs, interest and attorney fees.
Broida et al. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 11-CV-1219-LAB-RBB, complaint filed (S.D. Cal. June 3, 2011).
(Reporting by Joe Hylkema, Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet)