There’s an Internet marketing company that offered a “bonus” on its client’s websites that actually billed clients an extra $54.95 when they accepted the bonus. The fee was hidden below the “submit” button in the fine print that as an Internet lawyer I know for a fact most people never read.
The tech officer of the company has just settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In addition to having to pay $850,000, the settlement “bars him from misrepresenting material facts about a product or service, such as the cost or the method for charging consumers. He also is permanently prohibited from misrepresenting that a product or service is free or a ‘bonus’ without disclosing all material terms and conditions, and from charging consumers without first disclosing what billing information will be used, the amount to be paid, how and on whose account the payment will be assessed, and all material terms and conditions. The order further requires that transactions be afbusinessatively authorized by consumers, and that he, in marketing financial products or services, monitor his affiliates to ensure compliance with the order.”
In short, he’s forking over a lot of dinero, can’t be offering fake bonuses or other shady practices, and has to make sure affiliates don’t screw up either. And if he does mess up, he will need more than an Internet lawyer to get himself out of trouble the second time around.
Don’t believe the Internet gurus who tell you nothing has changed in the way you can do business online. Examples are being made. Don’t become the next one.
To your online success!
-Mike the Internet lawyer
P.S. If you haven’t picked up your complimentary copy of the website owner privacy and personal safety report, go to http://internetattorneysassociation.org/ and get it now.