In February, I paid for a Lavabit account. I "bought" an email account that cost $15, I can see these $15 on my account but I never got my email account. Lavabit is an honest company so it's probably not a swindle. I sent four mails to their support address but I haven't any answer.

Is there any way to be either reimbursed or to have what I paid for? I don't know if they have to reimburse me according to the Law.


Regardless of how you paid or where you live and focusing on the question "what does the law say", they offered you a service and you accepted (even paid), so you have a presumably valid contract (i.e. assuming you aren't confused about what they offered). They are required, therefore, to provide the contracted service, so they would appear to be in breach of that contract. The legal remedy is to sue them for damages, and assuming they are found liable, the court could order them to make good on the agreement, or to compensate you, which would certainly include the cost that you paid.

In this particular case, you may have a problem regarding what you bought. Owing to their problems with the US government and having been shut down, it is not clear to me that they are actually in breach – it looks to me like they are selling half-price reservations for future subscriptions, and have not promised to make the service immediately available. Their (findable) web pages do not seem to actually articulate anything resembling a sales agreement; they do say that (as of the January limited release) it is a limited release, which allowed existing customers to migrate their credentials. So one further analysis of the situation is that they were actually offering a future right to a service, and you believed that you were receiving an immediate service. There was a mistake, maybe meaning that there was no agreement (contract) in the first place. In which case, the company would have no contractual right to your money: the contract might be cancelled.

However, it is not sufficient to say "But I thought...", since otherwise no contracts would ever be valid. The question would be whether the seller knew or should have known that your belief was mistaken. You would need professional legal advice, to evaluate the case that the seller has any responsibility in this instance, but insofar as it seems reasonably clear that they are not actually offering current email service, then "caveat emptor" would work against you: you should have known that you weren't getting immediate service.

If you are in some other country, such a France, then there might be specific country-specific consumer protection laws.

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  • Thanks you for your answer. I paid, indeed but they do not offer any service yet. Possibly as you say this is an offer for a futur come back, but it's not written. If it's that it's not a problem, but there is no information about that on the website. I will re-read the 'contract' to see if they respect it or if they don't, if it's written I paid for something now they do not respect it. Otherwise if it's written it's for a future service it's my fault. I think they changed the message on the website (probably many users have sent mails), this is indeed a pre-registration for a future service – AnthonyB Apr 19 '17 at 16:20

If you live in the US and paid for it via credit card, then you can dispute the charge with your credit card company - since you did not receive the product you paid for. Just retain all communication to show that you tried to resolve the issue with the company first before disputing.

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  • Thank you for your answer. I'm not living in the US, but I paid for something and I didn't get anything. But as @user6726 said it's possibly a sell for a future service, even if I didn't see anything about that on their website. I have every email sent to their support, but I should be patient and re-read any contract I have. – AnthonyB Apr 19 '17 at 16:23

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