News Releases

February 27, 2015: MyLife Web Service Agrees to Pay More Than $1 Million in False Advertising Case

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A company that advertised its ability to help consumers identify people that had searched for them online has agreed to pay more than $1 million and change its business practices, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today. will pay $800,000 over a period of nearly two years in civil penalties to be divided equally by the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office. also will pay $250,000 in restitution to its customers.

Stan Williams, Head Deputy of the Consumer Protection Division and Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey McGrath handled the civil case for the District Attorney’s Office.

Since 2009, promised users free access to services that included the ability to see who was searching for them on the Internet, prosecutors said. In reality, free users had to provide identifying information and did not receive any tangible benefits in return, according to court documents.

To induce users into becoming paying customers, the company used blurred or obscured photos designed to appear as if they were the people searching for the targeted consumer, according to the civil complaint.

In addition, advertised a $7.95 monthly rate for its services when in fact users were charged upfront for the equivalent of an entire year at the monthly rate, prosecutors added. Paid customers then saw their yearly memberships automatically renewed without their explicit consent.

Under the terms of the final judgment and injunction signed on Wednesday, is barred from:

  •  Making any untrue or misleading representations to promote sales.
  • Representing that a consumer will receive information for free and without obligation, when in fact a paid membership is needed to receive the information.
  • Failing to honor any customer's requests to cancel a paid membership.
  • Representing that photos of individuals are related to search results unless the photo depicts the individual referred to in the marketing material.
  • Taking payments for a paid membership longer than one month unless the terms of the transaction are clearly displayed.
  • Automatically renewing memberships without presenting the offer terms in a clear manner and using a third party for automatic renewals unless the consumer gives explicit consent.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.