The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report recently about how companies deploy “dark patterns” in advertising for enticing potential customers, manipulating them into buying their products while at the same time giving up their privacy. The report came following a 2018 lawsuit against Lending Club Corp. which eventually agreed to pay out nearly $10 million to 61,990 consumers who were charged hidden fees while the company advertised that there were hidden fees. In fact, Lending Club was slicing money right off the top as the loan was being funded. The FTC outlined three principles companies must follow or risk being sued by the FTC:
Disclose clearly and accurately the material terms of the sale contract such as costs, deadlines to cancel, frequency of charges, and disclosure of essential information;
Obtain the customer’s informed consent before the payment is made; and
Provide an easy and simple cancellation process.