Just how much can you save as a member of the Walmart+ subscription service? Walmart says you can save well over a thousand dollars a year. A Michigan man said he would never be able to spend enough to save that much. Now their dispute, which ended up in a federal court, has come to an end.

Ryan Lee of Saginaw, Michigan filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Walmart last fall, claiming that the potential savings advertised to entice people like himself to sign up for Walmart+ were “illusory” and the program as a whole was “unfair, misleading, and deceptive.”

Lee withdrew the case somewhat swiftly, before Walmart even filed a response in court. “The parties have resolved the action to our mutual satisfaction,” his attorney, Spencer Sheehan, told Coupons in the News. Terms of the parties’ resolution were not disclosed.

Whether as a direct result of the lawsuit, however, or completely coincidentally, at least some of the promotional material to which Lee objected is slightly different on the Walmart+ website today.

When you take into account features like free delivery from a nearby Walmart store, free shipping from Walmart.com with no order minimum, fuel discounts and a subscription to Paramount+, Walmart says the $98 annual fee (or $12.95 monthly fee) more than pays for itself. In fact, “you can save $1,300+ a year,” the Walmart+ website said at the time Lee filed his lawsuit.


According to the fine print, that $1,300 savings figure is based on the savings you’d enjoy from not paying the nonmember fee of $7.95 each for an average of two deliveries per week, and $6.99 for two online orders per week. “An average customer does not place orders for two deliveries per week nor make two orders from Walmart.com,” Lee’s lawsuit alleged, so it’s highly unlikely that an average member like himself would save anywhere near $1,300 a year – and rather more likely that a potential member would be enticed to sign up without reading that fine print.

The Walmart+ website currently appears to hedge those potential savings a bit more, describing the program as “the membership that can help you save over $1,300 each year,” with the same fine print.

Other features to which Lee objected, don’t appear to have changed at all. When signing up for the program, new Walmart+ members “are not required to read or affirmatively acknowledge” the program’s restrictions, the lawsuit states. And the link to the “Terms,” which you can, but are not required to, click, “directs consumers to the general Walmart.com Terms of Use, not the specific Walmart+ Terms of Use.” Both of those claims remain true today.

Lee also objected to the fact that Walmart locks members into an automatically renewing program unless they cancel. These are “deceptive subscription practices,” he claimed. “By adopting a default autorenewal, Defendant takes advantage of consumer inertia,” making them more likely to continue as members than they would if they had to go through the effort to cancel. That doesn’t appear to have changed, since the Walmart+ terms still state that “we will charge your credit card the applicable membership fee on a recurring basis… To avoid charges for a new term, you must cancel before the end of the current term.”

So Lee may be satisfied with how things turned out for him, even though little appears to have changed for current or future Walmart+ members. With an estimated 11 million paying members, though, a lot of other Walmart+ members must be satisfied. For those who aren’t, let their experience be a lesson to you – do the math before deciding whether it’s worth spending money to save money. And always read the fine print.

Image source: Walmart

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