Ring Users Oppose Motion to Compel Arbitration

On Monday, the plaintiffs in a privacy suit against home security device provider Ring filed an opposition, in the Central District of California, to Ring’s motion to compel arbitration, claiming that “Ring seeks to avoid class liability or public accountability by forcing its customers into private arbitration.”

According to the opposition, Ring “sold home security devices riddled with deficient security protocols and privacy protections.” The plaintiffs alleged that “(h)ackers took advantage of these obvious deficiencies to gain unauthorized access to Plaintiffs’ Ring devices,” thus allowing the hackers to “invade( ) their homes and shout( ) profanities, obscenities, and death threats at them.” Meanwhile, “(o)thers suffered the loss of their personal identifying information (‘PII’), which Ring provided to third parties without their consent or authorization.”

Previously, Ring moved to compel arbitration, asserting that because the plaintiffs purchased a Ring product, created an account, or used the company’s services, they have agreed to the Terms of Service, which mandate arbitration.

In particular, the class argued that many plaintiffs did not purchase anything from Ring, so they are not bound by Ring’s Terms and conditions. Thus, the plaintiffs stated, the Non-Purchaser Plaintiffs were never presented with the Terms, did not agree to them, or did not have the option to opt-out of arbitration. Additionally, the plaintiffs noted that many of the Non-Purchaser Plaintiffs are minors entitled to disaffirmance. Moreover, the Purchase Plaintiffs said that they did not agree to arbitrate on behalf of their minor children.

The plaintiffs alleged that Ring’s external packaging and “presentation of an inconspicuous hyperlink to its Terms during the account creation process is not enough to put the Purchaser Plaintiffs on notice of its ever-changing arbitration clause.” As a result, the plaintiffs claimed that it would be “manifestly unjust to compel the Purchaser Plaintiffs to arbitration on the basis of a nondescript link, intentionally set forth in tiny lettering with no indication of its consequences.” The plaintiffs added that subsequently an arbitration agreement was not formed.

The plaintiffs proffered that an earlier version of the Terms, which were the only Terms presented to many of the Purchaser Plaintiffs, allegedly gives this court the “authority to decide enforceability, assuming that an agreement to arbitrate was formed.” The plaintiffs note that they did not agree to arbitrate or delegate. However, according to the plaintiffs, the arbitration clause is not enforceable because of the “high degree of procedural and substantive unconscionability,” such as the loss of PII without consent.

Lastly, the plaintiffs contended that even if Ring had sufficiently notified the plaintiffs of its Terms or arbitration clause, the arbitration clause is “invalid and unenforceable under McGill v. Citibank, N.A.” because it allegedly seeks to prevent the plaintiffs from seeking a public injunction in any forum; thus, the plaintiffs state that the arbitration clause is unenforceable.

The plaintiffs are represented by Tycko & Zavareei; Ahdoot & Wolfson; and Robinson Calcagnie.