In short, the case that began over four years ago accuses both companies of using dubious tactics to sign customers up for MSN then begin billing them when their trial period expires. The particular gripe the suit originally had was that the companies should not have been exchanging financial information in such a fashion:
The lawsuit alleges the companies violated RICO by engaging in wire fraud when they electronically transmitted the plaintiffs' financial information. The plaintiffs are claiming damages in the "tens of millions," which if tripled would top $100 million, Girard said.
While it may have taken a long time for this case to get off the ground, the outcome might have a serious impact on how companies do business together in such a fashion. Think of all the many PCs sold with preinstalled AOL that kindly asks you for a credit card when you first boot up the machine, or of just about any service that offers “Free Trials” for new computers.