'Betterhelp Refund Program has sent you $9.72 USD. Note from Betterhelp Refund Program: 'This payment is the result of a settlement between the FTC and Betterhelp. You can find information about the settlement and refund program at ftc.gov/betterhelp. If you have any questions, please contact the administrator at 1-833-637-4774 or info@BetterHelpRefundProgram.com' (inset) pennies (background)

Brandon Pack/Shutterstock reddit (Licensed)

‘3 minutes of IRL therapy’: BetterHelp’s compensation for exposing users’ data to Meta is laughably small

BetterHelp patients joked about the low sum.

 

Tricia Crimmins

Tech

Last year, BetterHelp agreed to compensate customers for exposing their personal data and mental health information to Meta and other companies.

Over a year later, patients are receiving their payments—of less than $10.

In March 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned BetterHelp from continuing to share patient data with Meta, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Criteo, an online ad company, to create targeted ads for customers.

According to the FTC, BetterHelp “promised consumers that it would not use or disclose their personal health data except for limited purposes, such as to provide counseling services. Despite these promises, BetterHelp used and revealed consumers’ email addresses, IP addresses, and health questionnaire information” to major social media sites for advertising purposes.

“When a person struggling with mental health issues reaches out for help, they do so in a moment of vulnerability and with an expectation that professional counseling services will protect their privacy,” FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Samuel Levine said at the time. “BetterHelp betrayed consumers’ most personal health information for profit.”

Though BetterHelp settled, the company said the decision to do so was “not an admission of wrongdoing.” Regardless, the FTC required the company to pay $7.8 million in refunds to its approximately 800,000 customers. Thus, each patient who opted into a refund received (or will receive) $9.72 this month or next.

BetterHelp costs between $65 to $100 per week.

Current and former BetterHelp patients posted their refund notices online and joked about the small sum in comparison to the price of therapy.

“Nothing like getting your mental health exposed to corporate America for $9.72,” a Redditor posted in the subReddit, r/MildlyInfuriating.

“My $10 BetterHelp settlement refund will be funding 3 entire minutes of my IRL therapy session tonight,” an X user tweeted. “Feeling blessed.”

Others shared more about their experiences using BetterHelp in light of receiving less than $10 back from the company.

“I really wanted it to work but it was pretty bad at the end,” a redditor wrote, alongside a photo of their refund notice. “I’m rich.”

“I’m just going to pretend that this $9 refund from BetterHelp is for how shitty my therapist was,” an X user said, “not for them getting busted selling my info.”

“Just got a $9 refund from BetterHelp,” another X user tweeted. “Really makes that suicide attempt worth it thanks.”

In addition to having to refund over 800,000 users, BetterHelp lost customers last year.

In mid-2023, it had approximately 476,000 users. At the end of the year, it was down to 425,000.

Last year, the company made over a billion dollars in revenue, but refunded patients $93 million in total because some realized “BetterHelp is not right for them.”


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