Wyndham Hotels Loses Legal Battle With Feds Over Lax Security Practices

Wyndham Hotels Loses Legal Battle With Feds Over Lax Security Practices

If a consumer-facing company, like say a massive hotel chain, touts its dedication to the security of customer information and then does something to repeatedly put that information at risk — like storing unencrypted credit card data on barely secure networks — can they be forced to share some of the blame when hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers are stolen? The hotel chain says that would be blaming the victim, but a federal appeals court has affirmed the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to go after businesses that fail to live up to their security promises. [More]

Makers Of Ultraviolet “Disinfectant” Devices Penalized $1.3M For Making False Germ-Killing Claims

Makers Of Ultraviolet “Disinfectant” Devices Penalized $1.3M For Making False Germ-Killing Claims

A bit of advice to gadget-makers out there: If you’re going to claim that your ultraviolet light product can ” kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria in 10 seconds or less” or eradicate disease-spreading fungus and drug-resistant MRSA, then you should have the science to back these claims up. [More]

Until May 2015, Par's generic form of Kapvay (clonidine hydrochloride) was the only generic version available in the U.S., even though Concordia also had the rights to market a competing generic.

Drug Companies Agreed To Not Compete, Resulting In High Price For Generic Medication

Imagine that Bob and Mary are the only two kids in town allowed to sell lemonade. They could try to compete against each other, potentially resulting in lower prices, improved juice, or better service… or Mary could say to Bob, “How’s about you pay me some money so I don’t exercise my option to sell lemonade?” That means the price for lemonade is whatever Bob says it is, and he’s encouraged to keep it high because he’s paying some of that money out to Mary. Now imagine this isn’t about lemonade, but about prescription drugs. [More]

Why Don’t Huge Privacy Flaws Result In Recalled Smartphones?

吉姆 Jim Hofman

When a car has a major flaw, like a potentially lethal airbag, it gets recalled. Same for a coffeemaker, or a surfboard, or a prescription drug. But when that major flaw is in a product’s software — like a huge exploit that puts literally a billion consumers’ privacy and personal data at risk — there’s no universal process out there for remedying the situation. Do we need one? And if so, how can we get one? [More]

Don’t Expect An End To Sketchy Hotel Resort Fees Anytime Soon

Don’t Expect An End To Sketchy Hotel Resort Fees Anytime Soon

In 2012, it looked like the Federal Trade Commission might finally be cracking down on hotel “resort fees,” mandatory surcharges added above the listed price of some hotel rooms. At the time, the agency sent warnings to 22 different hotel operators warning them that they weren’t doing enough to disclose these fees, but no legal actions have been taken since, in spite of the fact that some popular tourist destinations are hiding their resort fees until the final payment screen. And judging by the FTC’s latest response to these concerns, you probably shouldn’t expect this to change in the near future. [More]

Buyers Of Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau’s Weight Loss Book May Finally Be Getting Refunds

Buyers Of Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau’s Weight Loss Book May Finally Be Getting Refunds

Last year, author Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for repeatedly violating pledges to stop lying about the content of his book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. Yesterday, nearly a decade after Trudeau was first held in contempt over his misleading claims about this book, a federal judge gave the go-ahead for a plan to finally issue refunds to consumers who purchased the title. [More]

Walmart Also Selling Mislabeled “Made In America” Products In Stores

Walmart Also Selling Mislabeled “Made In America” Products In Stores

Last week, an advertising watchdog group called out Walmart’s website for selling more than 100 products labeled as “Made in the U.S.A.” even though they were manufactured in other countries. Now comes a local news report showing that the confusing problem isn’t relegated to Walmart.com. [More]

(Larry Smith)

Should Hotels Be Required To Include Mandatory “Resort Fees” In Published Room Rates?

In order to minimize surprise when it comes time to pay, airlines in the U.S. now need to include all mandatory fees in their published airfares, but the same isn’t true for hotels. Many destinations now tack on so-called “resort fees” that claim to cover things like access to in-hotel gyms and pools, but which are mandatory for all guests whether you use those amenities or not. Even though these required add-on charges can significantly increase a guest’s total bill, hotels do not have to include the fee in their listed rates. [More]

Report Finds 100+ Walmart.com Products Labeled “Made In U.S.A.” That Were Made Elsewhere

Report Finds 100+ Walmart.com Products Labeled “Made In U.S.A.” That Were Made Elsewhere

While there is no official review process required for labeling a product as “Made in the U.S.A.,” a company can get into legal trouble for misusing that label, as doing so may constitute false advertising. A new report from an advertising watchdog group claims that Walmart’s website has more than 100 examples of products incorrectly marketed as made in America. [More]

Privacy Group’s FTC Complaint: Uber Shouldn’t Track Users When They’re Not Using The App

Privacy Group’s FTC Complaint: Uber Shouldn’t Track Users When They’re Not Using The App

A digital-privacy group has filed a complaint against Uber, saying the company’s new privacy policy says it could use a rider’s location information to track where they are even when the app is running in the background, and also takes issue with the company’s policy regarding collecting address book information. The Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C wants the FTC to investigate. [More]

Steam Summer Sale Has Deep Video Game Discounts… And Pricing Shenanigans That Confuse Consumers

Steam Summer Sale Has Deep Video Game Discounts… And Pricing Shenanigans That Confuse Consumers

For 125 million gamers who prefer to play on their computers, Steam is the online retailer of choice, especially when it runs one of its huge seasonal sales. But while these promotions, like the current “Monster Summer Sale,” offer what appear to be deep discounts, Steam is also repeatedly accused of artificially inflating prices to make these savings look better than they are. [More]

(frankieleon)

Nobody Really Knows What To Do About Regulating The Sharing Economy

The car in front of you has four wheels and goes “beep.” For a certain fee, its driver will pick you up from where you are now and will shortly thereafter drop you off at the place you want to go. Twenty years ago, that car was an ordinary taxicab that you called on a landline. Now, it’s an Uber you summoned with an app on your smartphone. What’s the difference? In the world of regulation, everything. [More]

AT&T Still Trying To Wriggle Out Of Federal Throttling Lawsuit

AT&T Still Trying To Wriggle Out Of Federal Throttling Lawsuit

Seven months after the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T’s wireless division for allegedly misleading customers about “unlimited” data plans, and nearly two months after a judge denied AT&T’s attempt to dismiss the case, the Death Star is still trying to choke the government’s lawsuit into submission. [More]

(stuartpilbrow)

FTC Puts A Stop To Three Debt Collection Operations Using Threatening Text Messages, Robocalls

For the most part, we can’t say many glowing things about the debt collection industry that has, in the past, been known for using a litany of abusive and deceptive practices to pry money from consumers. Three such companies will no longer be bothering people after the Federal Trade Commission temporarily shut down the operations for engaging in nearly all of the hallmarks of shady collectors: threatening lawsuits or arrest, impersonating law enforcement and government officials and illegally contacting supposed debtors. [More]

Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc. is one of four cancer charities charged with allegedly perpetrating a scheme to bilk consumers out of millions of dollars.

4 Cancer Charities Accused Of Swindling Donors Out Of $187 Million

Federal regulators, state officials and prosecutors and law enforcement officers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia partnered today to charge four cancer charities and their operators for running a scheme that swindle consumers out of $187 million in charitable donations. Two of the charities have agreed to settle the charges and dissolve their businesses, while two other plan to fight the charges in court. [More]

(C x 2)

Company That Makes Wet Wipes Agrees Not To Call Products “Flushable” Unless It Can Prove It

After pleas from sewage workers and hearing from plumbers who say flushable wipes are actually not flushable or good for sewer systems, one company that makes wet wipes for retail partners has agreed to stop marketing its products as safe for flushing, unless it can substantiate that claim. [More]

FTC: ‘Clinically Proven’ Menopause And Weight Loss Supplement Helps With Neither

FTC: ‘Clinically Proven’ Menopause And Weight Loss Supplement Helps With Neither

American consumers have spent $65 million on Amberen, a supplement meant to ease the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. These symptoms can include hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, and weight gain. Did Amberen help with these symptoms, as promised? No, the Federal Trade Commission says: it mostly helped to lighten customers’ bank accounts, and has filed a complaint against the company that sells it. [More]

FTC Urges Michigan To Repeal Ban That Prevents Tesla From Selling Directly To Consumers

FTC Urges Michigan To Repeal Ban That Prevents Tesla From Selling Directly To Consumers

Last year, Michigan joined the list of states that require car manufacturers to use dealerships to sell their vehicles, effectively banning Tesla from selling its pricey electric vehicles to Michigan residents. Now, staffers at the Federal Trade Commission are chiming in, urging Michigan lawmakers to consider repealing this ban. [More]