Vizio to hand over millions in TV ‘spying’ lawsuit
TV manufacturer Vizio has been ordered to pay $17 million in damages following a class-action lawsuit.
The news may have flown slightly under the radar, but the settlement of a recent lawsuit against Vizio makes for interesting reading.
The manufacturer, renowned for targeting the “affordable” end of the high spec’d TV market, has essentially been called out for tracking the viewing habits of its customers through its embedded TV software. Not only did it monitor this, but also it also then secretly sold on the data to third parties for a pretty penny.
Doing this was lucrative business for Vizio – as seen in the terms of settlement, indicating that the $17 million being handed over is what it made from its side deal selling data. All data will be deleted as part of the settlement too.
Notably, Vizio has history. The company shelled out a couple of millions ($2.2 million to be exact) to the FDC (Federal Trade Commission) in 2017 for the very same misdemeanour. The company tried to fight its most recent charges by arguing this previous settlement precluded it from paying millions again, but was unsuccessful.
“This is not only important relief for the class, it sets an important precedent for the entire consumer electronics industry at a time when companies are leveraging new technologies to track customers without their knowledge or consent,” commented an attorney representing the Vizio settlement members.
Owners of TVs purchased between 1 February, 2014 and 6 February, 2017 will receive between $13 and $31 each under the terms of the settlement, depending on the number of valid claims that are submitted (according to topclassactions.com).
The manufacturer’s recent launches that have made their way into the pro market have included its flagship P-Series Quantum 65-in Class 4K HDR smart TV. It will be interesting to see how Vizio’s fortunes fare post its second legal settlement…