Dr. Steven Keenholtz reads his town newspaper to get the local news.
"There's the police blotter, the fire… local town sports," he said.
A year ago, the North Shore resident noticed that the 2-year subscription he paid for hadn't covered a full two years. That discovery led to a class action suit against Gatehouse Media, which publishes more than 100 daily and weekly hometown newspapers in Massachusetts.
"Its unfair and deceptive," said attorney Jason Leviton of the law firm Block and Leviton LLP, which filed the case. "When somebody signs up for a 52-week membership they have a right to expect a 52-week membership, and that simply wasn’t happening here."
According to the law firm, the company was sending so-called premium magazines to its subscribers and then shortening the length of their newspaper subscription to cover the cost.
"The problem was that the ad itself didn’t really tell you that," Leviton said.
"These magazines that we had been getting really were just basically advertisements and they ended up in the garbage," Keenholtz said. "It wasn’t local news and it wasn’t anything that I wanted to read."
Gatehouse Media denies any wrongdoing on its part, but agreed to the $2.3 million settlement.
Consumers have until July 19 to submit a claim and they can do that at ghmclassaction.com.
"I think it’s the principal of the matter," Keenholtz said. "I encourage anybody who has been a subscriber to get what they are entitled to and keep their eyes open and read the fine print."