The Federal Trade Commission is sending checks totaling $757,946 to 14,948 small businesses that paid DOTAuthority.com Inc. or related defendants service fees for commercial vehicle registrations based on allegedly deceptive advertising and practices. The average refund is just over $50 per check.
According to the FTC’s October 2016 complaint, the DOTAuthority defendants sent thousands of small businesses misleading messages that implied the defendants either were, or were affiliated with, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Unified Carrier Registration system, or another government agency. Using official-sounding names and law enforcement threats, defendants tricked the businesses into using their commercial vehicle registration services and failed to adequately disclose the fees for these services.
The defendants agreed to an order settling the FTC’s charges that bans them from the illegal conduct alleged in the complaint and imposes a $900,000 monetary judgment.
The Commission previously sent checks totaling $89,736 to small businesses deceived by the defendants. The FTC’s investigation recently uncovered additional customer information, which is enabling the agency to send a second round of refunds. Consumers who did not receive a refund, but think they should have, may contact the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at 866-303-8537.
Recipients should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.
FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $2.3 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
REFUND INFORMATION LINE:
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs