/ /

  • linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    FTC sues 1-800 Contacts, but not for the reasons you think

    Washington, DC—The Federal Trade (FTC) commission announced that it has sued 1-800 Contacts, accusing the company of anticompetitive behavior.

    The lawsuit alleges that 1-800 Contacts orchestrated and maintains a web of anticompetitive agreements with rival online contact lens retailers. These agreements allegedly suppress competition in certain online search advertising auctions and restrict truthful and non-misleading Internet advertising to customers.

    The FTC claims these practices result in some customers paying higher retail prices for contact lenses.

    Related: 1-800 Contacts ramps up legislative fight

    According to the FTC’s administrative complaint, 1-800 Contacts entered into bidding agreements with at least 14 competing online contact lens retailers that eliminate competition in auctions to place ads on the search results page generated by online search engines like Google or Bing.

    “1-800 Contacts strongly disagrees with the FTC’s contention that our settlement agreements are anticompetitive,” 1-800 Contacts General Counsel Cindy Williams told Optometry Times. “Our settlement agreements were specifically designed to protect our intellectual property rights. “

    The administrative trial is scheduled to begin April 11, 2017.

    Following the lawsuit announcement, American Optometric Association (AOA) President Andrea Thau, OD, FAAO, FCOVD, DPNAP, released a statement commending the FTC for taking action against 1-800 Contacts and affirmed the organization’s commitment to holding online contact lens retailers accountable.

    Related: AOA asks FTC to address contact lens retail abuses

    Last fall, the AOA asked the FTC to strengthen its Contact Lens Rule in order to address online contact lens retail abuses, and it has been battling 1-800 Contacts at the state and federal level.

    Related: 1-800 Contacts ramps up legislative fight

    The American Academy of Optometry chose not to comment on the lawsuit.

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...


    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • No comments available

    Optometry Times A/V