A California-based online seller of decorative contact lenses will pay a $60,000 penalty and be banned from all contact lens sales, the Federal Trade Commission announced.
The FTC had alleged that the seller violated the Contact Lens Rule. Under the rule, sellers may provide contact lenses to consumers only after either obtaining a copy of a valid prescription for the consumer or verifying the consumer’s prescription with the prescriber.
The rule applies to both corrective lenses and non-corrective, decorative lenses.
The FTC’s complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, charges Lawrence L. Duskin with providing contact lenses to consumers without obtaining the required prescription, failing to verify the prescription information, and failing to keep the records required by the rule.
According to the complaint, Duskin marketed and sold decorative contact lenses online through HollywoodColorContacts.com, WorldColorContacts.com and TopModelContacts.com. The FTC alleges that since at least January 2014, he provided contact lenses to consumers without obtaining their contact lens prescriptions or verifying the prescription information with consumers’ prescribers.
In addition, the FTC alleges that Duskin, in many instances, failed to maintain records of consumers’ contact lens prescriptions, requests to prescribers for verification of prescription information, and communications from prescribers. The FTC also alleges Duskin violated the FTC Act, as “the conduct constituted unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” according to a press release from the agency.
The proposed court order settling the FTC’s complaint permanently bans Duskin from advertising, marketing, promoting, dispensing, or selling contact lenses, as well as assisting anyone else in doing so. It also imposes a financial judgment of $575,000 against Duskin, the largest civil penalty to date in a matter alleging violations of the Contact Lens Rule.
Upon payment of $60,000, the remainder of the $575,000 will be suspended. If Duskin is later found to have misrepresented his financial condition to the commission, the full amount will immediately become due, according to the release.