Case Caption Not What It Appears

If you see a case captioned Stalker v. MBS Direct LLC you might think it involves some type of protective order. And you might wonder doesn’t the stalker have a name? But that’s not what the case is about. It’s a case where a college student with the last name of Stalker brought an action contending that an online retailer violated the Michigan Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The retailer—an online service that sells new and used textbooks—has exclusive contracts with over 600 schools through which it sells textbooks to students. The school provides a link to the defendant’s website through its own website, and students can buy books for the class schedules they provide. But according to the plaintiff, despite the retailer’s promise that students would save money; the online site actually cost more. And, according to the suit, the retailer didn’t disclose that the schools received a commission on the sales. The court concluded that those allegations stated a viable claim under the Act. The holding reiterates the need for transparency in the online world. The FTC has that issue on its radar, and apparently so do the states.