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Saturday, May 18, 2024

BetterHelp Customers Will Begin Receiving Notices About Refunds Related to a 2023 Privacy Settlement with FTC

About 800,000 people will begin receiving notices today that they are eligible for refunds stemming from the Federal Trade Commission’s 2023 settlement with BetterHelp related to allegations that the online therapy firm used and shared consumers’ health data, including sensitive information about their mental health, with third parties for advertising.

BetterHelp agreed to pay $7.8 million to settle the FTC’s charges, first announced in March 2023, that it used and revealed sensitive consumer data—specifically email addresses, IP addresses, and answers to personal health questions—for advertising purposes. The FTC alleged that BetterHelp shared this information with Facebook, Snapchat, and others for advertising, despite promising consumers that it would only disclose personal health data for limited purposes, such as to provide counseling services. The FTC charged that BetterHelp failed to obtain consumers’ consent before disclosing their health data and failed to limit how third parties use that data.

Eligible consumers will begin receiving emails about their payment from an independent redress administrator, Ankura Consulting Group. This email provides several payment options. Consumers who do nothing will get a payment via PayPal at the email address where they received their notice. Consumers who wish to choose a different payment method, such as a check or Zelle payment, will have until June 10, 2024 to select a different method. The administrator plans to send all payments this summer.

Payments will go to people who signed up and paid for services from a BetterHelp website between August 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020. BetterHelp has offered online counseling through several websites, including BetterHelp, MyTherapist, Teen Counseling, Faithful Counseling, Pride Counseling, iCounseling, Regain, and Terappeuta, which are all included in the refund program.

Consumers who have questions about the refund process should contact the independent refund administrator, at 1-833-637-4774 or via email at [email protected]. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide sensitive financial information to get a refund.

The Commission’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds in FTC cases. In 2023, FTC actions led to $324 million in refunds to consumers across the country.

Official news published at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/05/betterhelp-customers-will-begin-receiving-notices-about-refunds-related-2023-privacy-settlement-ftc

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