NCL applauds action to rein in deceptive marketing of contact lenses
February 3, 2022
Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, email@example.com or (412) 945-3242
Washington, DC –The National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, welcomed the enforcement action undertaken by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to end the deceptive marketing of contact lenses by Vision Path, Inc.
Vision Path, a direct-to-consumer seller of Hubble contact lenses, will pay penalties and redress totaling $3.5 million to settle charges that it violated the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule and put consumers at risk by failing to obtain proper prescriptions, and neglecting to properly verify prescription information, and by substituting Hubble lenses for those actually prescribed to consumers.
“This action against Vision Path should serve as a warning to any company that disregards laws intended to protect consumers. NCL has been at the forefront of efforts to get Congress and federal regulators to crack down on companies that deceptively market to consumers and illegally substitute their contact lenses in place of those originally prescribed by a patient’s eye doctor,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.
The FTC’s complaint alleges that Vision Path engaged in other deceptive practices, such as failing to disclose that “independent” consumer reviews were actually solicited by the company. The FTC also alleges that Vision Path engaged in a deceptive negative-option billing model that encouraged consumers to sign up for 15 pairs of daily-wear contact lenses and then automatically enrolled them in a subscription plan. NCL has long supported legislation, such as the District of Columbia’s landmark Structured Settlements and Automatic Renewal Protections Act of 2018, that would require a consumer’s explicit affirmative consent before such automatically-renewing contracts could kick in.
“Consumers are best served when they work with their health care providers to ensure the most appropriate and safest use of FDA-regulated medical devices, like contact lenses,” said Greenberg. “We are grateful to the DOJ and the Consumer Protection Bureau at the FTC, which led this effort, for their rigorous enforcement of consumer protection laws. While this is an important development, violations of the Contact Lens Rule continue. We will continue to press Congress and federal agencies to ensure that the CLR is being implemented and enforced as Congress intended.”
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.