: TurboTax misled consumers with ads touting free filing, FTC judge rules

A Federal Trade Commission administrative law judge ruled that Intuit, the maker of the widely used TurboTax filing software, engaged in deceptive advertising when it told customers that its service was “free,” the agency announced Friday.

“The evidence proves that Respondent advertised to consumers that they could file their taxes online for free using TurboTax, when in truth, for approximately two-thirds of taxpayers, the advertised claim was false,” wrote Judge D. Michael Chappell, in the decision.

Chappell ordered Intuit INTU, -0.60% to stop such advertising and ordered the company to include “clear and conspicuous” disclosures as to which customers are eligible for free filing in future ads.

Intuit had disclosed that it expected the decision in a SEC filing last month and said it intends to keep fighting the case and will take it to a federal appeals court if necessary.

In a blog post last Friday the company criticized the FTC’s “flawed and highly questionable process” and said that it is “confident” the decision will ultimately be overturned.

“Intuit already adheres to most of the advertising practices in the FTC’s erroneous decision,” the company said. “There is no monetary penalty, and Intuit expects no significant impact to its business.”

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