DNA Testing Firm Hit with $700K Fine for Alleged Deceptive Ads

  • California AG Rob Bonta and the FTC settled with CRI Genetics, LLC to resolve allegations that the DNA testing firm violated the FTC Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law by making misrepresentations to consumers in order to induce them to buy ancestry reports.
  • The complaint alleges that CRI made false representations to consumers that its DNA ancestry testing is more accurate and detailed than competitors’, and also that its ancestry reports show consumers exactly where their ancestors were from and when they arrived there with over 90 percent accuracy. The company also allegedly utilized additional deceptive tactics to induce consumers to purchase its reports, including posting phony consumer reviews, displaying false messages that test kits were in limited supply, and utilizing “dark patterns” to charge consumers for unwanted add-on services.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, CRI must pay $700,000 in civil penalties. In addition, the company is prohibited from making misrepresentations about its genetic testing services or employing deceptive sales tactics, and must disclose its website billing practices and usage of genetic data for any purpose other than the services purchased by the consumer.