TurboTax ad misleading customers according to FTC judge. The FTC just ruled that TurboTax reportedly deceived consumers simply by advertising its tax filing services as free.
TurboTax Ad Misleading Customers
The parent company of TurboTax, Intuit is still facing blowback over the claims that it reportedly tricked users into making use of its free tax filing service that was not free actually. The chief administrative law judge (ALJ) of the Federal Trade Commission reportedly ruled that Intuit deceived consumers and then engaged in deceptive advertising.
The ruling in question just so you know includes several pages of commercials and online ads where Intuit reportedly advertised its “Free Edition” software. And while the name implies that the service in question is, well, free, consumers and users eventually wound up having to pay to make use of it thus sparking a lawsuit from the FTC as well as a $141 million payout to affected users. Meanwhile, the actual no-cost Free File version of Intuit, which it reportedly launched in partnership with the IRS, quite remained exceedingly difficult to find. Intuit back in 2021, exited the program after the IRS stopped allowing companies to hide their free filing services from search engines.
Content of The FTC’s ALJ Decision
The FTC’s ALJ has determined that there is a “cognizant danger of a recurring violation” by Intuit and then issued a cease-and-desist order that stops the company from “engaging in deceptive practices in the future.” The ruling in question prevents Intuit from representing a product as free unless the product in question is actually free for everyone to utilize and “clearly and conspicuously discloses any terms that would limit the offer.”
Intuit’s Response to the Ruling
Intuit in a response provided in advance of the ruling of the FTC, calls the investigation process of the agency “flawed and highly questionable,” thus noting that “Intuit already adheres to most of the advertising practices in the FTC’s erroneous decision.” The firm also adds that it has “been clear, fair, and transparent” with consumers and therefore remains “committed to free tax preparation.”
IRS Working on a Government-Backed Free Filing Service
Hopefully, we will not be needing to rely on potentially deceptive third parties in order to file our taxes online going forward. The IRS at the moment is working on a government-backed free filing service that it will according to several reports pilot during the 2024 tax season.
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