FTC Focuses Law Enforcement Lens on Unlawful Contact Lens Sales

For Release

Two marketers of non-corrective, cosmetic contact lenses have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated federal law by selling lenses without prescriptions.

According to FTC complaints, BeWild, Inc. and its president, Brian Cohen, and Pretty Eyes, LLC and its owner, Christianne McNulty, have violated the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule and the FTC Act by selling non-corrective contact lenses on their Web sites, www.bewild.com and www.prettyeyes.org, without obtaining consumers’ prescriptions or verifying the prescriptions with the prescribers, and failing to keep proper records of prescriptions and verifications. BeWild and Cohen also are charged with violating the Contact Lens Rule by representing that their contact lenses can be obtained without a prescription.

Under the proposed settlements, the defendants are prohibited from selling contact lenses without obtaining prescriptions or verifying the prescriptions directly from the prescribers, from failing to maintain records of prescriptions and verifications, and from violating the Contact Lens Rule. BeWild and Cohen also are prohibited from misrepresenting that contact lenses may be obtained without a prescription and will pay a civil penalty of $11,000. A $25,000 civil penalty ordered for Pretty Eyes and McNulty is waived except for $2,500, based on their financial condition.

The Commission vote to refer the complaints and proposed consent decrees to the Department of Justice for filing was 5-0. The Be Wild documents were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Long Island Courthouse, and The Pretty Eyes documents were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, by the Department of Justice at the request of the FTC.

NOTE: These consent decrees are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. A consent decree is subject to court approval and has the force of law when signed by the judge.

Copies of the complaints and proposed consent decrees are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674
STAFF CONTACT:
Karen Jagielski
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2509