Claiming to be an online counseling platform for those seeking professional help, BetterHelp has recently been surrounded by arguments.
BetterHelp controversies, scandals, and horror stories are taking the internet by storm.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), BetterHelp pushed customers into sharing their health information and violated privacy.
Because of these allegations, the company has experienced severe losses.
From dented reputation to legal charges, BetterHelp controversies are constantly soaring.
However, the question remains – Are these claims just rumors or factual allegations? To further dive deep into the facts, keep reading the article till the end.
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform connecting individuals with professional therapists. It allows users to find help without the need to travel distances.
Thus, it has gained massive popularity for the ease and access it provides to patients going through stress, mental illness, and similar issues.
One can quickly sign up on the BetterHelp website to find assistance regarding addiction, anxiety, anger, eating disorders, insomnia, loss, self-esteem, parenting, relationship issues, and trauma.
The website mentions that the platform isn’t for those in an emergency in their FAQ section.
For instance, patients facing severe mental problems such as bipolar disorder or inflicting self-harm. Instead, it is more of a first-hand counseling assistance.
The website also suggests that it does not cater to patients directed by the court to attend counseling sessions.
It is a place to meet professionals who can help ease your minor issues. Listen to your problems and help you come over it.
Also, it is the right option for those who cannot afford face-to-face sessions. Or, people seeking help need to be more skeptical about meeting the therapist in person.
Given the internet’s anonymity, online counseling comes as a perk by letting individuals be more upright with their therapists.
The fact that BetterHelp operates entirely online makes the platform affordable and highly accessible.
Those with a stable internet connection can easily avail of the company’s services without traveling.
As mentioned, you can download an app on your mobile or go to the website URL to register yourself.
All these contribute to the attractive pricing of the BetterHelp platform.
It is much cheaper than offline therapies.
The platform charges users somewhere between $60 to $90 per week, invoiced every four weeks.
During the payment process, BetterHelp prompts users to fill out financial assistance applications to check eligibility for financial assistance.
The application contains questions like monthly income, job and history, military status, and dependents, if any.
This is a one-time process.
You do not need to go through it whenever you renew your subscription.
However, if you plan to use BetterHelp services, you must do your due diligence.
Although offering cheap services, BetterHelp horror stories are horrifying.
There are accusations about payments and refunds against BetterHelp.
It charges after cancellation as well.
And do not refund the payments.
In terms of technology, BetterHelp claims to be using only HIPAA-compliant solutions.
Their application is secure and prepared against any outside breaches.
They ensure measures are in place to protect the data from cyber threats.
However, there are BetterHelp controversies that indicate the unfair practices used by the company violating data privacy.
They have been accused of sharing their clients’ sensitive information with social media platforms.
They have also been using the data to market to specific customers based on their medical history.
From online forums to Reddit threads, people are talking about how BetterHelp has been using the patients’ data to fuel their profits.
People claim BetterHelp is a tech company good at creating platforms like this but not trustworthy with private information.
We have explained these allegations in detail in the article ahead. Keep reading to learn more about the accusations made on BetterHelp.
How to Register for BetterHelp Services?
BetterHelp allows users to sign up for their services like any other website.
The process is simple and easy to follow.
- First, visit the company’s website or download the app on your mobile phone. You must select the service type before using the website URL before getting in. On the other hand, those using the BetterHelp app can click “Get Started.”
- While signing up, you must complete a questionnaire enabling the system to learn about your life to propose the right professionals for help.
- Depending on your answers to the questionnaire, the website will connect you to a therapist best fit for your condition.
- Afterward, you can enter a virtual therapy room to connect with your therapist. This room is accessible from your mobile phone app and the website URL.
The virtual room is available 24/7.
However, according to the terms of the usage, the therapist is available to respond five times a week.
The sessions will also depend on your therapist’s schedule.
You may have to wait a little longer for a reply.
In case you are messaging the therapist late at night, you can expect an answer the next day, as per the login schedule of the therapist.
Apart from chats, BetterHelp provides users the option to connect via video sessions.
Hence, you must request switching to a different therapist to consult over a video call.
BetterHelp Controversies – A Deep Dive!
Not one, but a few severe allegations put BetterHelp in question.
The platform is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing online therapy solutions.
However, with the recent spur in its complaints, users find it skeptical to trust BetterHelp.
The internet is flooded with BetterHelp Horror Stories and fraud complaints.
People complain about scams, unfair pricing, unprofessional and untrained therapists, privacy issues, etc.
So, let’s learn about these controversies in detail.
BetterHelp controversies are serious and, if valid, account for quick action.
One concern concerns the licenses of the therapists who register on the platform.
The website allows anyone to join the platform as a therapist.
This was assumed based on the fact that they recommend users verify their therapist license beforehand.
BetterHelp policy deems that they follow strict scrutiny to ensure the therapists are genuine and experienced.
After weeks of verifications, the company finally checked the therapist’s credentials before registering them with the platform.
However, clients’ reviews tell a completely different story.
Many of their clients have complained about unprofessional and incompetent therapists.
According to their experiences, these therapists sometimes fail to assess users’ conditions.
Sometimes, they do not follow the privacy code and conduct sessions in the presence of others.
Reviews on the internet are filled with the problems clients face with BetterHelp mental professionals.
In addition, there are complaints about the company making it difficult to switch therapists.
This further has made the scandal at it worse.
As discussed, BetterHelp connects users with certified therapists through text, phone calls, or video chat.
There are many YouTubers who advertise the company’s services in their videos.
These YouTubers have taken sponsorships from BetterHelp and thus promote the platform online.
The company has even sponsored videos from popular producers, including Elle Mills, Boogie2988, Bobby Burns, Heath Hussar, ChandlerNWilson, and more.
Although these creators are known for spreading awareness about mental illness in the past, the sponsorships of BetterHelp brought controversies.
Not just that, the YouTubers promoting BetterHelp were found earning money through their affiliation.
This, considered an attempt to monetize followers’ mental health problems, created negative publicity for the company.
Data Privacy and Sharing
There are allegations about the company selling its user info to third parties acquired through the sponsorships.
Per the complaints, BetterHelp uses Facebook data to market to particular users.
Although the BetterHelp founder, Alon Mattas, responded to the allegations claiming those false, nothing concrete has been shared as proof.
Plus, the client’s feedback and complaints go against the clean reputation that the company has maintained thus far.
BetterHelp Horror Stories
The internet is flooded with BetterHelp horror stories.
Clients have complaints about the company’s malpractices to lure them into believing that they care.
Instead, as per the allegations, BetterHelp is a technology firm that cares only about the number of registrations on its platform.
It uses the clients’ data to advertise on social media and target particular users to advertise their services.
Not just breaking the law by sharing clients’ private information, but the therapists on its platform are unprofessional.
According to a client, the counselors on BetterHelp keep canceling the sessions one after another.
There are other complaints like therapists passing the time to move on to the next session.
Various signs tell you not to trust the company with your time and money.
Reddit Takes on BetterHelp
The most popular forum, Reddit, has become commonplace for those cheated by BetterHelp.
Some threads further strengthen the allegations against BetterHelp.
Like these, one can find various threads on Reddit that talk about the shady business of BetterHelp.
BetterHelp Therapist Reviews
While many users have found solace in the services it provides, the experiences of the therapists working on the platform tell a different story.
Here’s a breakdown of the key points raised by therapists.
Many therapists have voiced concerns about the compensation provided by BetterHelp.
They describe the pay as ‘extremely low,’ especially considering the qualifications and licensure required for their roles.
Despite the low pay, the expectation of being available 24/7 has left some therapists feeling undervalued and overworked.
Lack of Autonomy and Support
Therapists have also raised issues about the lack of autonomy and support from BetterHelp.
Some therapists reported being informed that an algorithm would ethically determine which clients they could work with.
However, they found that the company did not support them in this manner, leading to feelings of deception and distress.
Flexibility and Client Diversity
On the positive side, some therapists have appreciated the flexibility offered by BetterHelp.
The platform allows them to work remotely and connect with diverse clients.
However, these positive aspects seem overshadowed by negative experiences, particularly the low pay and lack of support.
Overall these reviews provide an essential perspective on BetterHelp, highlighting the need to consider the therapists’ experiences providing the services.
As the platform continues to grow, it remains to be seen how it will address these concerns to ensure a positive working environment for its therapists.
The therapist reviews suggest that while BetterHelp offers some benefits, there are significant areas for improvement.
BetterHelp’s controversies and horror stories led many other therapy sites to enhance customer service and privacy.
You can find out more about these companies by visiting their respective websites.
And choose the one that fits your requirement and budget.
FTC Allegations Against BetterHelp
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused the online counseling service BetterHelp of misleading and deceptive practices regarding users’ health information privacy.
According to the reports, BetterHelp allegedly encouraged users to provide sensitive health information through an Intake Questionnaire.
Thus, assuring them that the information would remain private between them and their counselor.
However, the FTC lawsuit claims that BetterHelp shared this information with significant advertising platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest for targeted advertising purposes without users’ knowledge or consent.
Further, the complaints state that BetterHelp disclosed the email addresses of current and former clients to Facebook.
It used the information to target ads related to mental health services. In addition, the company also shared information about previous therapy sessions with Facebook.
To be precise, BetterHelp revealed IP and email addresses with Snapchat and disclosed email addresses to Criteo and Pinterest, resulting in increased revenue for the company.
BetterHelp initially denied sharing users’ personal information with third parties when confronted.
The eight-count complaint from the FTC details how BetterHelp allegedly used various unfair practices, attacking consumers’ right to data privacy.
According to the FTC’s proposed settlement, BetterHelp must pay $7.8 million for partial refunds to affected customers who signed up between August 2017 and December 2020.
The settlement prohibits BetterHelp from sharing health data for advertising purposes and sharing personal information for re-targeting.
It includes provisions to limit future data sharing and requires BetterHelp to contact affected consumers and ensure the deletion of their shared data by third parties.
Is BetterHelp HIPPA Complaint?
Although the website claims to be certified by HITRUST, the actions seem the opposite.
After being accused of sharing users’ data, it might no more be within HIPAA guidelines.
What are the lawsuits filed against BetterHelp?
The first lawsuit was filed on the 7th of March for repeatedly violating the promise BetterHelp made to its users.
Instead of protecting its users’ private information as promised, BetterHelp used that to target customers to register for its services.
The second lawsuit, on the other hand, accuses BetterHelp of intentionally sharing patients’ data with third-party advertisers.
The first lawsuit was filed four days later, on 11th March.
The case charged BetterHelp with enhancing its market share by neglecting the privacy of its users.
What Are Betterhelp Alternatives?
Many online therapy services are genuine and offer better services than BetterHelp. You can learn about these options here.
Why is BetterHelp Bad?
First, the app broke clients’ promises by sharing their personal details online.
The claims suggest that the platform does not fully controls the therapists, who often are irresponsible and incompetent.
Plus, the payments and refunds are poorly managed.
The first impression is the last. However, this saying does not fit for BetterHelp.
The platform started as an excellent assistance for those going through mental stress or sickness.
However, with time, it started showing its true colors.
Instead of promises about securing its clients’ records, BetterHelp revealed the details for its gains.
Not just that, it falsely denied the allegations when confronted and tried to hide the wrongdoings to save the company from the consequences.
However, betterHelp controversies, scandals, and horror stories are no more just rumors.
These are serious allegations, and the company must pay close attention to rectifying the mistakes and not repeating those in the future.
Lawsuits from FTC and various other user complaints make this platform highly risky for anyone to join.