September 2022

FTC Returning More Than $1.9 Million to Consumers Nationwide Who Purchased Hubble Contact Lenses Without Properly Obtained or Verified Prescriptions


The Federal Trade Commission is sending payments totaling more than $1.9 million to 30,172 consumers nationwide who bought Hubble brand contact lenses from Vision Path, Inc. The FTC alleged that the company substituted its own brand of lenses for those prescribed by the consumers’ eye doctors in violation of the Contact Lens Rule and violated the FTC Act by deceiving consumers about whether their doctors had approved the substitution, among other things. The average refund amount is $63.

Refund checks are being mailed to affected consumers starting today. The deadline for cashing the checks is 90 days from the date they are issued. Consumers who have questions about their refund or who did not get a refund but think they may be eligible, should contact the refund administrator, Epiq, at 1-855-914-4722. The Commission never requires consumers to pay money or provide account information to get a refund.

The FTC’s January 2022 complaint against Vision Path alleged the company violated the Contact Lens Rule in several ways, including by failing to obtain prescriptions and to properly verify prescription information, and by substituting Hubble lenses for those actually prescribed to consumers. The FTC also alleged the company violated the FTC Act when it promised consumers it had properly verified their lenses with their eye doctors, and when it failed to disclose that many reviews of Hubble lenses were written by reviewers who were compensated for their reviews, and, in at least one instance, by one of its own executives.

 The Commission’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds in FTC cases. In 2021, Commission actions led to more than $472 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the Commission lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the Commission’s ability to get money back for consumers.



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FTC Takes Action to Stop Credit Karma From Tricking Consumers With Allegedly False “Pre-Approved” Credit Offers


The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against credit services company Credit Karma for deploying dark patterns to misrepresent that consumers were “pre-approved” for credit card offers. The FTC alleges that the company used claims that consumers were “pre-approved” and had “90% odds” to entice them to apply for offers that, in many instances, they ultimately did not qualify for. The agency’s order requires the company to pay $3 million that will be sent to consumers who wasted time applying for these credit cards and to stop making these types of deceptive claims.

“Credit Karma’s false claims of ‘pre-approval’ cost consumers time and subjected them to unnecessary credit checks,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will continue its crackdown on digital dark patterns that harm consumers and pollute online commerce.”

Credit Karma provides tools that allow consumers to monitor their credit scores and credit reports. To use Credit Karma’s services, consumers must provide the company with a variety of personal information, allowing Credit Karma to amass over 2,500 data points on each consumer, including credit and income information. Credit Karma uses that information to send targeted advertisements and recommendations for financial products, like credit cards.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Credit Karma violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by falsely representing that consumers were pre-approved for credit offers or had 90% odds of approval. The complaint alleges that Credit Karma’s conduct harmed consumers by: 

  • Deceiving them about whether they were approved: Despite Credit Karma’s claims that consumers were “pre-approved,” for many offers, almost a third of consumers who applied were in fact denied. Credit Karma often only revealed the possibility of denial in buried disclaimers or false claims that consumers had “90% odds” of approval. Credit Karma was aware that its consumers were misled: for example, its own customer service training materials cited “I was declined for a pre-approved credit card offer …. How is that possible?!?!?!” as a common issue representatives would encounter.
  • Costing consumers time and harming their credit score: The complaint alleges that, in response to Credit Karma’s false claims, numerous consumers wasted significant time applying for credit card offers. Additionally, when consumers applied for these offers, third party financial companies made a “hard inquiry” on their credit reports, which in many instances lowered consumers’ credit scores and harmed their ability to secure other financial products in the future.

Enforcement Action

Under the FTC Act, the FTC has the authority to take action against companies for engaging in unfair and deceptive acts or practices. The FTC’s proposed order against Credit Karma requires the company to:

  • Stop deceiving consumers: The FTC’s order prohibits Credit Karma from deceiving consumers about whether they are approved or pre-approved for a credit offer, as well as about the odds or likelihood that a consumer will be approved for a credit offer.
  • Pay $3 million in consumer redress: The order requires Credit Karma to pay $3 million to the FTC, which will be sent to consumers who were harmed by the company’s actions.
  • Preserve records: To help prevent further use of deceptive dark patterns, the order requires Credit Karma to preserve records of any market, behavioral, or psychological research, or user, customer, or usability testing, including any A/B or multivariate testing, copy testing, surveys, focus groups, interviews, clickstream analysis, eye or mouse tracking studies, heat maps, or session replays or recordings.

The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint and to accept the consent agreement was 5-0. The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register soon. The agreement will be subject to public comment, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Instructions for filing comments appear in the published notice. Comments must be received 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Once processed, comments will be posted on Regulations.gov.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $46,517.



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