Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Delaware comparison shopping website LendEDU over allegations that it promoted deceptive rankings of financial products for a fee and posted fake positive reviews of its website.
According to the agency’s administrative complaint, LendEDU misled consumers to believe its website provided objective product information, when in fact it offered higher rankings and ratings to companies that paid for placement. Specifically, the FTC alleged that LendEDU falsely claimed that the information on its website was not affected by compensation from advertisers. The FTC also alleged the company touted fake positive reviews of its website.
The final order settling the FTC’s charges prohibits LendEDU and its operators from misrepresenting: the objectivity of the rankings of any entity offering products; the influence of compensation on any content, including any rate tables; and any material connections or endorsements with companies. LendEDU is also required to pay $350,000.
After receiving two comments on the settlement, the Commission voted 4-0-1 to approve the settlement order with LendEDU as well as responses to the commenters, with Commissioner Slaughter not participating.
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