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Class Action Lawsuit Filed by Seattle Business Against Google Alleging Breach of Contract, Unjust Enrichment, and Violations of California Law

Lawsuit claims that Google failed to honor its “Free-For-Life” Promise and other contractual and legal commitments to customers who signed up for Workspace (formerly G Suite or Google Apps) from 2006 to 2012

Consumer law firms Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC have filed a class action lawsuit against Google, LLC based on its treatment of customers who signed up for Workspace (formerly G Suite or Google Apps) during the several years when Google promised that the service would be “free-for-life.” The suit has been filed in federal district court in San Jose, California. The Class Action Complaint alleges that, in order to entice early adopter customers to sign up for the service that is now known as Google Workspace, Google promised them free service for as long as Google offered the service. Google entered into this bargain, according to the Complaint, so it could benefit from these customers’ experiences and use of the service to develop and fine-tune the service, with the goal of putting Google in a position to eventually market the service to other customers for a fee.

According to the Complaint, beginning in January of 2012, all new customers signing up for Workspace were required to pay for the service. Paid customers pay a monthly fee per user, such as $12 per employee/user, for a basic version of Workspace. The Complaint alleges, however, that until recently, Google had never mentioned breaking the “free-for-life” promise made to the early adopters of Workspace. The suit contends that, in January 2022, Google announced to its “free-for-life” customers that it was going to completely stop providing their free service, even though Google continued to offer the same Workspace suite of products. Plaintiff alleges that, by making this announcement, Google forced its “free-for-life” customers to choose between paying for Workspace or losing the service entirely, in which case they would have to find a new service, migrate their information to that new service, and potentially risk losing important data and content that they were storing on Google’s systems.

The suit also recounts how Google officially renounced its ethos of “Don’t Be Evil” prior to announcing the end of the “free-for-life” promise. The Complaint alleges the company has grown massively from the time it made the “free-for-life” promise to now making billions of dollars in profits each month.

The Class Action Complaint asserts that, due to backlash from customers in response to Google’s announcement that it was breaching its “free-for-life” promise, Google eventually allowed some “free-for-life” customers with “non-commercial” accounts to “opt-out” of the breach. The suit alleges, however, that the Plaintiff and other small business owners who have commercial accounts are now forced to pay for their once-free Workspace services, even though, the suit contends, Google never distinguished between commercial and non-commercial use when it made the free-for-life promise and Google knew that many of the early adopters would use the service for their business. Indeed, the Complaint explains that Google explicitly marketed the free service to businesses. The suit also alleges that “non-commercial” users who provided their payment information shortly after Google’s January 2022 announcement that it was breaking the free-for-life promise, and other “non-commercial” users, are likewise being forced to pay for their once-free Workspace service in violation of what Google promised.

The suit also includes illustrative complaints from legacy Google Apps or G Suite users. Such complaints show that Google’s improper action affected many of Google’s most loyal customers.

The legal claims referenced in the Class Action Complaint are for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law. The suit seeks restitution, specific performance, and injunctive relief.

The case, styled The Stratford Company, LLC v. Google, LLC, is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and has been assigned case number 5:22-cv-04547-NC.

If you wish to discuss this class action or have any questions concerning this press release, please contact Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP at (415) 956-1000 or You may also visit the firm website at In the alternative, you may contact Webb, Klase & Lemond at (770) 444-9325 or or visit the website at

Lawsuit claims that Google failed to honor its “Free-For-Life” Promise and other contractual and legal commitments to customers who signed up for Workspace (formerly G Suite or Google Apps) from 2006 to 2012


Roger Heller

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

415 956-1000

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