Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order involving Network Solutions, LLC, which misled consumers who bought its web hosting services by falsely promising a full refund if they canceled within 30 days.
In an administrative complaint annouced in April 2015, the FTC alleged that Network Solutions, a domain name registrar and web hosting provider, offered web hosting packages with a “30 Day Money Back Guarantee,” but did not adequately disclose that it withheld up to 30 percent of the refund from customers who cancelled within 30 days of buying an annual or multi-year package and registering an included domain name.
The consent order prohibits Network Solutions from failing to clearly disclose, before obtaining a customer’s billing information, the material terms of any money-back guarantee, or failing to refund the full purchase price in response to a request that complies with the terms of a guarantee. The order also bars the company from misrepresenting material terms of any refund or cancellation policy or money-back guarantee, or any other material fact about web hosting, and it requires Network Solutions to keep records demonstrating compliance with the order for five years.
The Commission vote approving the final order was 5-0.
NOTE: When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.
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