The Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the mobile savings app Beam, resulted in a settlement that includes the permanent shut down of the latter. While the FTC is still waiting for the official approval of the federal judge who presided over Beam’s case, Beam founder and CEO Yinan Du, a.k.a. Aaron Du, maintains that his company is not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Nonetheless, the Beam CEO has also been ordered by the FTC to refund the money placed by Beam customers, and to pay interest of 7% on all FDIC insured deposits. Based on a CNBC report, the total deposits and interest Aaron Du is obligated to return to Beam customers, will reach a staggering cost of $2.6 million.
Moreover, Aaron Du can no longer run a business similar to Beam, since he and his company did not deliver the services and financial gains promised to Beam app users.
Background to FTC’s Lawsuit vs Beam
It was in November last year when the Federal Trade Commission announced the filing of a legal complaint against Aaron Du and Beam, the company offering the free mobile banking app. To entice consumers into downloading and using the Beam savings app, Du’s promotional by line included assurances that fund transfers will take only three to five business days.
However, the contrary happened to some as many users were not able to get the transfers done during the promised period. Based on complaints received by FTC, it took weeks or months before customers got their transfers completed. Some others did not even receive the money that was supposed to have been transferred, which caused a lot of serious problems for many Beam app users.
What was even worse is that as unsatisfied customers started giving negative feedback and poor ratings at the Google Play Store and Apple App Stores, Beam’s customer support was unreachable. As recourse, customers brought their complaints to the FTC.
Acting Director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Faniel Kaufman said that during these times of pandemic, providers of financial apps and services should not to lie to customers, about having the ability to handle money transfers in times of critical need. Many of those who used the Beam app did so because they needed 24/7 access to their savings, at a time when they were experiencing financial setbacks.