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Vonage agrees to pay $100 million to settle FTC lawsuit



(Reuters) — Communications company Vonage agreed to pay $100 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit that alleged it had failed to provide an easy method for customers to cancel their phone service, court documents filed on Thursday showed.

Vonage, which was acquired by Ericsson earlier this year in a $6.2 billion deal, had created barriers to discourage and prevent customers from stopping recurring charges, the FTC said in a lawsuit and proposed settlement in US District Court in New Jersey.

Neither Vonage nor Ericsson immediately responded to a request for comment.

“Since at least 2015, Vonage has failed to provide an easy method for customers to cancel their phone service, using a variety of barriers, sometimes called ̵

6;dark patterns,’ that reinforce to discourage and prevent customers from stopping recurring charges.” the FTC said in its complaint. “Even when customers have successfully navigated Vonage’s process and have reached a live agent and closed their accounts, in many cases Vonage has continued to charge them without consent.”

In addition to the financial settlement, the company agreed to provide clear disclosures about any recurring charges and to offer an easy method to stop recurring charges or avoid increased charges, according to a court filing.

It also requires that if a consumer signed up for a service on the phone or through a cellphone application to use the same method to cancel the service, the document said.


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