Online direct marketing company Swish Marketing was recently ordered to pay a fine of more than $4.8 million by a federal court for deceiving online short term loan applicants into ordering a debit card, according to Consumer Affairs.
An investigation by the Federal Trade Commission found that websites operated by the defendant encouraged consumers who made credit decisions
involving a short term loan to click a prominently-featured button stating "Finish matching me with a short term loan provider!" Those who clicked on the button were improperly charged up to $54.95 despite the fact that they had not explicitly authorized the payment, the news source explains. In addition to the fine, the court order bans the company from marketing so-called "negative-option" programs that treat consumers' lack of rejection of a product as a purchase agreement. The company was also prohibited from misrepresenting facts about a product or service, charging consumers without first disclosing payment details and failing to take steps toward monitoring its marketing affiliates' compliance. According to Swish Marketing's website, the company serves approximately 1.5 million customers on a monthly basis.