FTC Alleges PPE Marketer Violated the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act and the Mail Order Rule
On June 30, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has charged an online marketer with falsely promising consumers that he could quickly deliver facemasks and other personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, then allegedly failing to deliver on customers’ orders or offer cancellations or refunds.
In the federal court complaint, the FTC alleges that the online marketer took advantage of consumers’ fear of COVID-19 by advertising the availability and quick delivery of PPE, including N95 facemasks, even though he had no basis to make those promises.
The marketer allegedly failed to deliver PPE on time (if at all), failed to notify consumers of delayed shipments, failed to offer the cancellations and refunds required by the FTC’s Mail Order Rule, and failed to honor requests for refunds so consumers could buy these products elsewhere. When the marketer eventually did deliver, the complaint states, he often sent products inferior to those consumers ordered. Most notably, according to FTC lawyers, he advertised N95 masks, but allegedly delivered cloth masks instead.
The complaint alleges that in addition to violating the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act and the Mail Order Rule, the marketer’s deceptive and unfair conduct also violated the FTC Act. In its complaint, FTC attorneys are seeking monetary relief for consumers and civil penalties.
Other cases to protect consumers from those allegedly taking advantage of the recent high demand for PPE by advertising the availability and quick delivery of these products, but purportedly failing to meet those promises, include SuperGoodDeals, Glowyy, Zaappaaz/wrist-band.com, and American Screening.
The complaint against the marketer is the first in a PPE case bringing charges under the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act.
Richard B. Newman is one of the leading FTC defense lawyers in the nation at Hinch Newman LLP.
Informational purposes only. Not legal advice. May be considered attorney advertising.
Here are a two sample complaints from prospective customers that appear on scampulse.
1. “I bought a mask with two filters, and 20 additional filters on April 03. Based on the tracking information I was given, my order left California and then spent 4.5 weeks sitting in Texas. After pestering their customer service numerous times via E-mail, my mask & two filters magically delivered 5 days later but under a different tracking # from my original order. However, I didn’t get the 20 additional filters I’d ordered.
Thinking they’d deliver separately, I waited until 60 days had passed. That was the timing they stated that from my initial order: “In extreme cases, orders may take up to 60 days to arrive, in which case, a full refund will be issued to our customers as per our policy. This rarely happens, but if it were to happen, you’d be covered under our policy for a refund and you may keep the parcel.” Having still not received the filters, I requested a refund starting June 5th. I sent four different E-mails to their customer service requesting the refund; they’ve never responded & never refunded me.
It’s odd that I got the mask but not the additional filters. Makes me wonder if they were legit at first but they extended themselves so much due to the high demand and then couldn’t follow through with all the orders, that they decided to take the money and run… In the end, it doesn’t matter their intent. It’s only their actions that matter. They stole money from me, and apparently a ton of other people. I reported them to the BBB & FTC.”
2. “DO NOT THROW YOUR MONEY AWAY! Everything I have read here regarding Trend Deploy is accurate. I know, because it is also happening to me. I ordered 20 N-95 masks and received a notification that the items had arrived at a “shipping partner” called “Jet e-Commerce Logistics” in the City of Industry, Calif. I also received a tracking number. I ordered on April 3rd, received this “shipping partner” notice on April 8th and since then, one month since my order was placed, no movement. I placed a research request with USPS and that came back as no item received.
This company is a total and complete SCAM. I have emailed them asking directly for a refund of my $79 and all I have received is a series of canned emails assuring me that my masks are “…well on its way!” I researched the shipping partner, “Jet e-Commerce Logistics” and see that it is a China-based company. Makes one think…?
No one wants to be scammed…ripped off…lied to…
All Trend Deploy needs now is a bandana for a mask so I can call them highway robbers. Do any of us on this site believe that we will ever receive our orders, or better yet, a refund from Trend Deploy? How ’bout NOOO!”