Thursday, June 28, 2012

Company Must Hand Over Domain To VA

Following an investigation by the attorneys general of 15 states, a private company must give the domain name to the Veterans Administration and pay $2.5 million to cover the cost of the investigation, based on alleged violations of consumer protection laws.

Marketing company QuinStreet Inc., agreed to the terms after being investigated for misleading Veterans with a web site using the address and decorated with military emblems and logos. The states investigating QuinStreet accused them of convincing Veterans that their site was government sponsored and using that ruse to harvest personal information, which they then passed on as sales leads to affiliated for-profit schools.  

QuinStreet Inc. denied any wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, saying "QuinStreet … does not engage in deceptive marketing practices and does not believe that its websites were misleading prior to the Agreement." 

While the site now shows disclaimers making clear that it is not associated with the VA or other government agencies, the site showed no such disclaimer until very recently.

“We’re acting to ensure that servicemembers are not deceived by companies who are more interested in adding to their bottom line than in providing clear information to soldiers about the educational benefits they have earned while protecting us,” said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, one of the attorneys involved.

You can read more about this story here.

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