Vizio Inc. was found guilty of unauthorized tracking and failing to provide information before collecting and sharing their television viewing information.
VIZIO, a television manufacturer, has been accused of violating laws by installing software on their televisions without consumers' knowledge or consent that collected viewing data. The company sold over 11 million internet-connected televisions since 2010, and since February 2014, the televisions were designed to continuously track consumers' viewing habits and transmit the data to VIZIO through the proprietary ACR software, which was turned on by default.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General have charged VIZIO with violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act and Section 56:8-2 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The representations made by VIZIO were not clear or prominent enough to alert consumers to their data collection practices, which included the sale of licenses. The company's practices were considered deceptive, including hidden information and misrepresentations, which misled consumers into allowing VIZIO to collect and sell their viewing data.
VIZIO has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, agreeing to pay $2.2 million in response to allegations that it secretly installed software on 11 million consumer TVs to collect viewing data without their knowledge or consent. Vizio has agreed to stop unauthorized tracking, to prominently disclose its TV viewing collection practices, and to get consumers’ express consent before collecting and sharing viewing information. The settlement requires VIZIO to pay $1.5 million to the FTC and $1 million to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, with $300,000 of that amount suspended.
Federal Trade Commission and Vizio Inc., Vizio Inscape Services LLC
Related deceptive patterns
Sneaking involves intentionally withholding or obscuring information that is relevant to the user (e.g. additional costs or unwanted consequences), often in order to manipulate them into taking an action they would not otherwise choose.
Prohibits deceptive acts or practices that misrepresent or omit material facts.
Prohibits deceptive acts or unfair practices related to the sale or advertisement of any merchandise.