WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Publishers Clearing House (PCH), offering a sweepstakes where people can win thousands of dollars a week for life, has agreed to pay $500,000 and change The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Monday it would investigate its business practices to settle allegations that it misled consumers in its contests.
The FTC charged PCH with using “dark patterns,” a manipulative website design that tricks consumers into believing they have to buy to win or have a better chance of winning. Among other charges, the agency said it accidentally increased shipping costs on purchases.
“Today’s action to require PCH to overhaul its user interface, compensate consumers for lost time, and stop unexpected fees should send a clear message that manipulative design technology is not allowed under our laws Yes,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
The changes requested by PCH’s website include “clear, conspicuous and unavoidable disclosures” that “no purchase is required,” the FTC said in a statement. winning, and purchasing does not increase one’s chances of winning.”
PCH stated that approximately 98% of consumers who entered the contest on its website did not purchase any thing. Christopher Irwin, vice president for consumer and legal affairs, said in a statement: “While we disagree with the FTC’s claims and do not admit to any wrongdoing, we have agreed to resolve this matter to avoid ongoing costs. and litigation.”