If an online business which provided a lifetime membership has closed it’s doors after 2 years of service, can I recoup my subscription fee?

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If an online business which provided a lifetime membership has closed it’s doors after 2 years of service, can I recoup my subscription fee?

About 3 years ago I signed up for a lifetime subscription to an investment blog called PTT Research. The lifetime membership cost me 2000. The service has since closed it’s doors indefinitely. I’ve communicated with the owner of the service and he’s responded in vague statements that the closure was due to internal disputes between the various partners. The

owner of the blog seems apologetic but has provided no information or updates in well over a year. Do I have any recourse to either recoup my investment or sue for breach of contract? The business appears to have no intention of restarting their blog as their website is now down.

Asked on November 14, 2016 under Business Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the business was NOT an LLC or corporation, you may be able to sue the owner(s) personally for breach of contract--though you need to review the "fine print" of the contract and/or terms of service in detail, since they likely contain limitations on what "lifetime" means in this context, and/or restrictions on your ability to sue (many or most commercial contracts like this contain at least some restrictions).
If the company was an LLC or corporation, the owner(s) are not personally liable--only the company is. Therefore, you could only sue the LLC or corporation, but if the company has been dissolved, or if not dissolved, has ceased operations or is insolvent, you will not be able to recover any compensation.


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