The Federal Trade Commission is mailing checks totaling $89,736 to 246 small businesses who paid DOTAuthority.com Inc. or related defendants service fees for commercial vehicle registrations based on allegedly deceptive advertising and practices.
According to the FTC’s October 2016 complaint, the DOTAuthority defendants sent thousands of small businesses misleading messages that implied defendants either were, or were affiliated with, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Unified Carrier Registration system, or another government agency. Using official-sounding names and law enforcement threats, defendants tricked the businesses into using their commercial vehicle registration services. They also failed to adequately disclose their fees to consumers, including service fees ranging from $25 to more than $550.
The defendants agreed to an order settling the FTC’s charges that bans the defendants from the illegal conduct alleged in the complaint, and requires them, when contacting consumers, to disclose adequately that they are a private third-party service provider, as well as any fees associated with their services. It also imposes a $900,000 monetary judgment.
This is an initial disbursement of refund checks. Consumers who have questions about the refunds, or who did not receive a refund check but think they should have, should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Rust Consulting Inc., at 866-303-8537. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.
Recipients should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.