Online Contact Lens Company Ordered to Pay $3.5 Million in Civil Penalties and Consumer Redress for Violating Federal Contact Lens Laws
The Department of Justice, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced that the government will collect $1.5 million in civil penalties and $2 million in consumer redress from online contact lens company Vision Path Inc., dba Hubble Contacts (Hubble), as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that Hubble violated the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the government alleged that Hubble violated the federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule by selling contact lenses online without taking the steps required to verify the subscriber’s contact lens prescription, improperly substituting Hubble’s own brand of contact lenses for those originally prescribed by consumers’ eye care practitioners and procuring what it falsely portrayed as independent consumer reviews of its products and services. In addition to requiring Hubble to pay civil penalties and consumer redress, the stipulated order entered by the court today requires Hubble to refrain from altering prescriptions to change the brand prescribed, to verify the prescription for contact lens orders submitted without a written prescription, to cease other deceptive practices and to satisfy ongoing recordkeeping, certification and compliance obligations.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate the violation of laws intended to ensure that consumers receive the products prescribed for them,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department is committed to protecting consumers from companies that engage in deceptive practices.”
“Hubble’s business model boosted its bottom line but created needless risk for its customers’ eye health,” said Director Samuel Levine of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Today’s action makes clear that firms will pay a price for deceiving their customers, flouting the Contact Lens Rule, and using misleading reviews.”
This matter is being handled by Claude Scott of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Alysa S. Bernstein and Paul Spelman of the FTC.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the FTC, visit its website at https://www.FTC.gov.