Statement by CFPB Director Rohit Chopra on Complaint Against ACTIVE Network
Today, the CFPB is suing ACTIVE Network, a payment platform used by families across the country to register for community activities, including camps and events sponsored by the YMCA, Girl Scouts and organizers. charity races.
Although not a household name, millions of Americans have used ACTIVE Network’s payment and registration platform. For anyone who walked for the cure, ran for the cause, or sent their child to camp, they may have paid or donated through this company.
ACTIVE Network presents itself as a supporter of the community. The picture he paints on his website is full of kids playing soccer, runners crossing the finish line, and smiling camp counsellors.
However, the CFPB investigation revealed that ACTIVE Network had engaged in a year-long campaign that used dark models to pile junk fees onto the annual bills of families signing up for community activities. The CFPB lawsuit filed in federal court describes how ACTIVE Network increased enrollment by using sophisticated design techniques to enroll families in membership programs they didn’t even want.
Our pursuit illustrates several areas of interest to the CFPB.
First, we are closely monitoring whether financial services firms are deploying digital dark schemes. Dark patterns are design features used to trick, direct, or manipulate users into behavior that is profitable for a business, but often detrimental to users or contrary to their intent. In addition to this lawsuit, we also sued TransUnion for unlawfully registering consumers for credit monitoring. We’ve also worked to give designers and other tech workers more tools to serve as industry whistleblowers.
Second, we look at a range of ways to reduce unwanted junk fees. Too many consumers find that they are being charged fees for so-called services that they did not want or that provided no value. Our trial today is part of that effort.
Finally, we strive to ensure that our payment system operates in a safe and fair manner. The technology should help Americans make payments seamlessly and know how much they are transferring and to whom. We will continue to examine how payment platforms extract data and fees from their users.
CFPB sues payment platform used by YMCA camps and charity ride organizers to illegally package consumers with unwanted membership fees