An email spammer and his company will pay $350,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they sent deceptive emails in advance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) roll-out, falsely claiming that consumers would be violating the law if they did not immediately click a link to enroll in health insurance.
In January 2014, the FTC filed a complaint against Yair Shalev and Kobeni Inc., alleging they violated the FTC Act and the CAN-SPAM Act by failing to give consumers a chance to decline to receive future emails and to provide a valid physical postal address.
The settlement imposes a $350,000 judgment and permanently bans the defendants from misrepresenting material facts about any product or service - including that consumers will violate federal law if they do not select health insurance by a certain date or that the law requires consumers to buy something.
The defendants' emails led to websites with advertisements for insurance, according to the complaints. The websites' operators paid the defendants when consumers clicked links in the ads. Insurance companies whose ads appeared on the websites did not authorize the email messages.