Online shoe retailer Hey Dude, Inc. will pay a $1.95 million settlement to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly suppressing negative customer reviews and violating other FTC rules related to online sales. The company, acquired by Crocs, Inc. in February 2022, was scrutinized for actions it took between 2020 and 2022.

Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “As this case makes clear when retailers publish consumer reviews online, they cannot suppress negative reviews to paint a deceptive picture of the consumer experience. And when retailers don’t ship merchandise on time, they must give buyers the option to cancel their orders and promptly get their money back.”

The FTC claims Hey Dude, previously known as Happy One, LLC, broke the Commission’s Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule in several ways. These violations include failing to issue shipping delay notices, not canceling unfulfilled orders and issuing refunds promptly, and offering gift cards instead of refunds for orders that couldn’t be shipped.

Additionally, the FTC contends that the company misled consumers by suppressing negative reviews of its merchandise. From January 2020 to June 2022, Hey Dude primarily allowed five-star reviews to be posted on its website while often rejecting and not publishing less favorable ones. According to the FTC, this practice continued until the company realized it was under investigation, at which point it started publishing all reviews.

The proposed court order, pending approval, will impose several conditions on Hey Dude. Firstly, the company will be prohibited from future Mail Order Rule violations. Secondly, it will be required to publish all consumer reviews, including those previously withheld, with certain limitations related to content moderation.

The FTC will use the $1.95 million settlement amount to provide refunds to consumers who were adversely affected by Hey Dude’s alleged misconduct. The stipulated final order was authorized by a Commission vote of 3-0 and filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

The case underscores the FTC’s ongoing efforts to hold online retailers accountable for fair and transparent business practices, according to Levine. “We will continue to hold online retailers accountable for violations of the FTC Act and other laws we enforce,” he said.

Hey Dude operates nationwide, advertising and selling shoes on its website and through social media platforms. The company’s alleged actions in suppressing reviews and failing to adhere to FTC rules concerning online sales have been halted pending the court’s final approval of the proposed order, which aims to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws moving forward.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply