On October 30, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it is sending nearly $100 million in refunds to consumers who were harmed as a result of internet phone service provider Vonage’s alleged use of dark patterns and other obstacles that made it difficult for users to cancel their service.
In its November 2022 complaint against Vonage, the FTC alleged that Vonage made its cancellation process more difficult to navigate than its enrollment process. In particular, Vonage allegedly restricted users to a single method of cancellation, charged unexpected early termination fees, continued to charge users after they canceled, and issued only partial refunds for overbilled amounts. Vonage and the FTC subsequently reached a settlement where Vonage agreed to pay $100 million in refunds to consumers harmed by the company’s actions, implement a simple and transparent cancellation process, and stop charging consumers without their consent.
The FTC is now in the process of sending payments to 389,106 consumers. Eligible consumers will receive refunds by check or PayPal.