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Hubble Contacts to Pay $3.5M in Settlement with FTC

The online contact lens company was accused of violating the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule.

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Vision Path Inc., doing business as Hubble Contacts, has been ordered to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and $2 million in consumer redress as part of a federal settlement.

The settlement will resolve allegations that the online contact lens company violated the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule.

“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.”

The U.S. Department of Justice stated in a press release:

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.

“Hubble’s business model boosted its bottom line but created needless risk for its customers’ eye health,” said Samuel Levine, Director 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.”

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Steven Druckman, CEO of Vision Path, said in a statement: “We are relieved to put this behind us and continue our journey to become one of the leading vision companies in the world. The FTC’s allegations relate to a period when the company was just starting up, and all requirements in the order were addressed long ago through improvements to our systems and internal processes.”

He added: “Hubble entered a concentrated market by offering consumers something innovative and new: affordable prices and convenient subscriptions for daily disposable contact lenses. We acknowledge that Hubble, like many other disruptive startups, experienced some operational challenges early on, but through continuous improvement those have been corrected as Hubble matured and evolved.

“We disagree with many of the FTC’s claims, including the FTC’s characterization of the Hubble team’s intentions, but we believe that this settlement is the best way for Hubble to move forward so we can focus on executing our strategy to grow and evolve the company and expand on our value proposition.”

 

 

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