The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued its final decision and order arising from its previously-disclosed settlement with TRUSTe stemming from the FTC’s complaint alleging that TRUSTe failed to conduct promised annual recertification of companies participating in its privacy seal program more than 1,000 times between 2006 and 2013. The complaint also alleged that TRUSTe misrepresented its status as a non-profit entity. The decision and order was finalized after a four-month public comment period.
The decision and order was finalized without any changes from the settlement proposed in November. The FTC received comments on the settlement from the Center for Digital Democracy, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and Common Sense Media. One of the commenters asserted that the ordered disgorgement against TRUSTe of $200,000 was too little compared to TRUSTe’s profits from its alleged deceptive behavior and to deter others from similar behavior and urged a higher penalty. Defending its figure, the FTC responded that the “$200,000 figure reflects a significant portion of the monies that TRUSTe received from its business clients for the annual reviews that it failed to conduct, despite representations to consumers that it recertified sealholders annually.”