News flash: you can’t work out by not working out. As we predicted in November, the Federal Trade Commission has settled with shoemaker Skechers over claims that their rounded-bottom Shape-Up shoes helped wearers to tone their lower-body muscles and lose weight. These claims were all over ads and promotional material for the shoes, including an ad that aired during the 2011 Super Bowl. [More]
The Federal Trade Commission and defendants in a debt collection operation have reached a proposed settlement, after the FTC had alleged in its complaint that the defendants knew, or should have known, that not all the magazine subscription debts they were trying to collect on were valid. There’s also a line in there about pretending to be Ed McMahon, which is just so wrong. [More]
A Colorado payday loan operation that allegedly piled on undisclosed and inflated fees — and which attempted to avoid prosecution by claiming affiliation with Native American tribes — has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission, which says the sovereign immunity laws don’t prevent investigations by the feds. [More]
Aww, snap! Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill doesn’t care that her speech opening a forum on Data Privacy Day was being streamed on Facebook and likely Googled by many — she still put the verbal smackdown on those two companies for their problems protecting user privacy. [More]
According to a Federal Trade Commission complaint lodged against online storage service Dropbox, users were told they had more security than they actually did. [More]
Earlier today, Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz visited the Consumer Reports compound in Yonkers, NY. While there, Consumerist’s Executive Editor Meghann Marco managed to score a sit-down interview with him. [More]
In a wide-ranging interview, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz spoke with NPR’s On the Media about the agency’s role in protecting consumer privacy, fighting back against deceptive marketing practices — and about Leibowitz’s weekend basketball games with Federal Communications Commission chief Julius Genachowski: “Julius has been schooling me on the basketball court for some time. … He’s very crafty.” [More]
Here at Consumerist, we’re constantly writing about online frauds, scams and misleading deals. But for all our writing, we’re not a federal agency. That’s where the Federal Trade Commission comes in. The good folks over at the FTC have just put together a short video demonstrating how easy it is for you to file a complaint with them on their site or over the phone. [More]
Subway spokesman and occasional thin guy Jared Fogle may soon be out of work thanks to a new FTC rule banning commercial testimonials that warn “results not typical” or “individual results may vary.” Under the new rule, marketers using, say, body builders to advertise weight loss pills are also going to have to show an average lardass whose results might be more typical. You can guess how advertisers are reacting to the change…
The Federal Trade Commission has charged Wintergreen Systems, an Indiana-based electronics reseller owned by John Levy, with failing to honor mail-in-rebate offers for thousands of customers. The FTC’s conditions for settling the lawsuit require Levy and his company to “be barred from any involvement in the development, marketing, fulfillment, or funding of any rebate program.” There’s also a $330,000 judgment, which the company will not have to pay (more on that below). Both Wintergreen Systems and its parent company, Market Development Specialists (MDS), resold electronics through companies like Office Depot, PC Connection, Buy.com, PCMall, and Woot.com.
We’re sorry, but there is no cure for cancer. The FTC is going after eleven companies that claim otherwise by selling potions, herbs, and a “systematized program of thinking good thoughts” masquerading as cures. You shouldn’t need a federal agency to tell you that the “Miracle Water for Cancer” doesn’t actually cure anything, nor does it reverse weight gain and aging. Bummer. Six of the snake oil companies agreed to settle, but five will crawl before a judge and argue that they can cure cancer. Let’s look at the list…
Consumers Reported 69,204 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Violations. FTC Responds With One (1) Lawsuit
Consumers have filed over 69,000 complaints against scummy debt collectors for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, prompting the FTC to rush to our collective defense by taking action against three debt collectors who showed a “culture of harassing the debtors from which they collect.” Two debt collectors settled and one went to court. Still, when you receive over 69,000 complaints—and these are from the people who know to complain to the FTC—it’s reasonable to assume that more than three collectors encourage a culture of harassment. More harrowing revelations from the FTC’s annual report to Congress, after the jump.
Retailers love gift cards. They get your money up front, so they can earn interest on your “deposit.” Cards bring customers into the store, where they often spend more than gift card value. Other consumers will forget they have the card, and the retailer keeps the money without selling anything. Nice margins!
Is the FTC just a bunch of secretaries with really big filing cabinets?
Registering an official gripe against a company need not involve a trip to the post office. The Federal Trade Commission has an online form you can use, too.