(Chuck Muth) – According to a story by Nancy Hemphill in Helio.com, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against 1-800 CONTACTS.
The suit alleges that 1-800 CONTACTS has “unlawfully orchestrated and now maintains a web of anticompetitive agreements with rival online contact lens sellers that suppress competition in certain online search advertising auctions.”
The article included a quote from the American Optometric Association (AOA) applauding the move and advocating for a legislative measure designed to hinder market competition with optometrists for contact lens sales.
“The AOA has been a long-time advocate against the abusive and illegal practices Internet contact lens sellers use, especially those that can lead to patient harm and result in added health care costs,” AOA President Andrea P. Thau, OD, said.
“AOA and our [Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety] partners will continue to fight against these retailers and hold sellers accountable, including supporting the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act (S.2777), which aims to strengthen the patient health safeguards in existing federal law that have been undermined and, in certain cases, even ignored.”
Curiously, the one-sided article didn’t bother to include a quote from 1-800 CONTACTS, so we’ll rectify that “oversight” for them…
“1-800 Contacts strongly disagrees with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) contention that agreements designed to protect its trademark hinder competition. 1-800 Contacts is confident in its legal position and will vigorously defend its intellectual property rights in response to the administrative complaint filed by the FTC.
“1-800 Contacts has a long history of advocating for increased competition and consumer rights, including championing the passage of the landmark Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act of 2003 that increased convenience and lowered prices for consumers, and opposing recent price fixing by manufacturers.
“1-800 Contacts strongly believes in a competitive contact lens marketplace and will continue to be a leading advocate for providing consumers with more choice, greater convenience and lower prices.”
The trial is scheduled to begin next April.
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com.