FTC Sues to Stop ‘Bait-and-Switch’ TurboTax Advertisements

Ponca City Now - March 30, 2022 8:59 am

WASHINGTON (TND) — The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit over what the agency calls “bait-and-switch” tactics by TurboTax owner Intuit in its advertising.

The FTC says TurboTax advertisements deceive customers by pitching free tax filing services that millions of people cannot use. Intuit said the FTC’s arguments are not credible and it will be fighting the lawsuit.

“Far from steering taxpayers away from free tax preparation offerings, our free advertising campaigns have led to more Americans filing their taxes for free than ever before and have been central to raising awareness of free tax prep,” said Kerry McLean, executive vice president and general counsel of Intuit.

FTC officials said approximately two-thirds of tax filers cannot use TurboTax’s free product and millions are ineligible because they do gig work or earn farm income.

“TurboTax is bombarding consumers with ads for ‘free’ tax filing services, and then hitting them with charges when it’s time to file,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We are asking a court to immediately halt this bait-and-switch, and to protect taxpayers at the peak of filing season.”

This year’s deadline to file taxes is April 18.

The lawsuit asks a judge to immediately halt the free filing advertisements, which the FTC says focus on the term “free” and run during major events.

“While it is disappointing that the FTC chose to file this lawsuit, we look forward to presenting the facts in court and are confident in the merits of our position,” McLean said.

 

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