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The Wall Street Journal: FTC investigating business practices of mental-health startup Cerebral

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The Federal Trade Commission has begun an investigation into mental-health startup Cerebral Inc., according to a letter the FTC sent the company that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

In the letter dated June 1, the FTC said it was investigating whether Cerebral engaged in deceptive or unfair practices related to advertising or marketing of mental-health services. The letter also directed the company to preserve documents.

The FTC’s letter asks Cerebral to answer dozens of questions related to its business. In particular it seeks information related to any programs where Cerebral continues to bill customers a subscription fee until the customer cancels, also called “negative option programs.”

Cerebral said in a statement that it intends to cooperate fully with the FTC and that it is working to improve its service for patients. The company said it has recently undergone an effort to redesign the cancellation process.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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