About 800,000 BetterHelp online therapy customers receive refund notices

About 800,000 customers of the online therapy platform BetterHelp will start receiving refund notices related to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said Thursday.

Last year, BetterHelp agreed to pay $7.8 million to settle FTC charges that it co-opted user data, including personal health questions, for advertising purposes, sharing the sensitive information with social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat.

The FTC accused BetterHelp of failing to properly obtain consumers’ consent before it did so. BetterHelp did not admit to the charges. It said in a statement this week that was “deeply committed to the privacy of our members and we value the trust people put in us by using our services.”

Eligible refund customers include anyone who paid for services on BetterHelp or its affiliated websites, like MyTherapist, Teen Counseling, Faithful Counseling, Pride Counseling, iCounseling, Regain and Terappeuta, from Aug. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020.

According to The Associated Press, the refunds will equate to just under $10 per person.

BetterHelp remains a massive sponsor of podcasts. In March, it spent $8.3 million on podcast opportunities — nearly double the next biggest sponsor, Amazon, according to Magellan AI, a podcast analytics group.

The company is now owned by Teladoc Health, an online medical services group whose share price has plunged as the Covid-19 pandemic has waned. In its most recent earnings report, Teladoc Health said its BetterHelp segment was experiencing declining usership and revenue.

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