BetterHelp refund notices sent after $7.8M data-sharing settlement

Many current and former BetterHelp customers have started to receive notices about their eligibility for refunds stemming from a substantial $7.8 million settlement. 

This settlement was reached with the online therapy provider last year following severe allegations that it had improperly shared sensitive health data with advertising companies.

The issue became apparent when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged BetterHelp with breaching consumer trust. 

According to the FTC, the California-based company disclosed confidential information, including consumers' mental health details, email addresses, and IP addresses, to several advertising platforms, notably Facebook and Snapchat. 

This disclosure directly contradicted BetterHelp's promises about the privacy and security of user data.

This settlement aims to address the breach of privacy suffered by users and compensate them for the potential misuse of their sensitive information. 

The FTC's actions underline the importance of digital privacy, especially concerning mental health data, and remind all online service providers about the critical nature of upholding user trust and adhering to privacy laws.

Refund notices issued to impacted consumers

As part of the settlement reached in March 2023, around 800,000 affected consumers began receiving notices this week that they are eligible for refunds. 

The FTC confirmed that these payments are to be distributed evenly, with each impacted consumer receiving just under $10.

Ankura Consulting Group is notifying impacted users who paid for services through BetterHelp and its associated platforms, such as MyTherapist, Faithful Counseling, and Price Counseling, from August 2017 to December 2020 about their payment options. 

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Unless they choose otherwise by June 10, recipients will automatically receive their payments via PayPal.

BetterHelp's response to the settlement

Despite the settlement, BetterHelp has stated that this is not an admission of wrongdoing. 

The company emphasized its commitment to user privacy, asserting that it never shared sensitive information like session data with third parties and does not accept payment for user information from advertisers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.