The Federal Trade Commission forced Payday loan facilitator, Swish Marketing, to turn over $4 million dollars as punishment for using deceptive marketing techniques. The FTC alleged there was “reason to believe” the Internet advertisers violated payday loan marketing law rules on websites like maypaydayangel.com and juniperloans.com.
Payday Loan Marketing Law: Unfair and Deceptive Marketing Accusations Lobbed By The FTC Against Payday Loan Websites
Typically, payday loan websites require users to fill out a financial application that asks for personally identifiable data, such as social security numbers, drivers’ license data and bank account information. Various FTC and FCC standards prohibit companies from sharing such data without user consent; but according to the FTC the defendants did just that.
The accused parties offered different food, travel, long-distance-calling and discount programs at the end of their payday loan applications. Some of the option defaults were set to “yes” (a standard practice).
Customers began reporting unauthorized bank account debits between $59.90 and $99.00 — this was enough to trigger an FTC investigation into payday loan marketing law violations.
But the FTC was not having it and essentially ruled that the tricky website design (fine print and potentially confusing action buttons) was misleading, unfair, deceptive and therefore against regulation.
What Happens Next In This Payday Loan Marketing Law Case?
It’s important to remember that the FTC first initiates investigations. If they don’t find anything — nothing happens. In this case, the claims have been made. Now it’s up to a judicial body to determine if the complaints carry weight.
Not All Payday Loan Sites Are Breaking The Law; But The FTC Will Go After Them Anyway; If It Happens, Stay Calm and Call Us
Sure, some online operations are shady; but the majority aren’t. Eager to appear sympathetic to people decimated by the 2008 crash, the FTC has been known to go overboard in their investigations.
If you get caught in their cross hairs, it’s important to have an Internet-savvy lawyer on your side. The rules governing online business are slightly different than the laws brick-and-mortar establishments must follow.
Kelly / Warner is one of the preeminent Internet law firms practicing today. Our team of lawyers, programmers and online marketing specialists will provide the support and knowledge you need to emerge the winner in a payday loan marketing law investigation. Contact us today with questions – we’re here to help any and all online marketers.