The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has initiated a lawsuit against South Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai, alleging that the companies have been involved in a TikTok challenge that misled consumers.
The FTC alleged that Kia and Hyundai, both part of the Hyundai Motor Group, ran a promotion on the social media platform TikTok that was designed to give away a free car to consumers who participated in the challenge. The FTC contended that the challenge misrepresented the odds of winning the car, and that the companies failed to adequately disclose the promotional rules.
The FTC’s complaint alleged that the companies created the challenge to attract potential customers, but failed to inform them of the actual odds of winning the car. The FTC further alleged that the challenge included “fictional stories” that falsely suggested that consumers had better chances of winning the car than they actually did and also failed to disclose important information, such as the fact that the odds of winning the car depended on the number of people who participated in the challenge.
The FTC asserted that the challenge was a deceptive marketing ploy, and that Kia and Hyundai had violated the FTC Act by failing to adequately disclose the promotional rules. The FTC is seeking an injunction to prevent the companies from engaging in such practices in the future, as well as monetary relief for the consumers affected.
The FTC’s complaint is the latest in a series of legal actions taken by the agency against companies for deceptive marketing practices. The FTC has taken similar action against companies for deceptive practices related to “free trial” offers, influencer marketing, and other promotions.
The lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.