Scareware Peddler Incurs Fines

Wednesday, January 05, 2011



Scareware peddler Ascentive, who offered a product under the name, was ordered to pay tens of thousands in fines and offer refunds to some customers in Washington State for engaging in deceptive marketing practices.

Ascentive known for their abrasively repetitive television advertising campaigns, offered consumers a supposed solution to poor computer performance via downloaded software.

The Washington State Attorney General's office alleged Ascentive's product came loaded with adware and was designed to produce endless pop-up warnings that unduly exaggerated security risks.

Customers who attempted to cancel the service were subjected to an inordinately difficult process which included multiple email exchanges with company representatives.

The company was also accused of making unauthorized and excessive charges for services without notifying customers. The company stated they will make adjustments to their billing practices.

Ascentive was ordered to pay $78,000 in fines and offer refunds of $17.90 to consumers who purchased the service but never used it.

The company claims more than twenty million downloads, so it is doubtful that the modest fine and limited number of refunds will significantly impact their operation.

There is the possibility that other state's Attorneys General could follow pursue action against Ascentive, or that a civil class action suit could arise.


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