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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
For years, the Federal Trade Commission has been combatting scammy marketers of weight-loss products who use fake news sites, fictional reporters, and bogus celebrity endorsements, but people keep trying to pull these cons on consumers. This morning, the FTC announced yet another takedown of a sketchy diet pill marketer using lookalike news sites to sell its products.
A friendly reminder to AT&T wireless customers: as a result of their $105m settlement with the FTC, the company has to pay refunds for cramming. The application deadline for refunds is May 1 — that’s tomorrow. You can visit the settlement website to see if you’re eligible or to submit a claim.
Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing scheme that bullied elderly consumers into paying for a medical alert service they never ordered or wanted. Now a federal court has hit the telemarketer’s repeat-offender operator with a $3.4 million penalty. [More]
Two years ago, Neiman Marcus and two other retailers settled a Federal Trade Commission complaint that they had sold “faux fur” products on their websites that contained actual animal fur. As part of that agreement, the upscale department store was permanently enjoined from “falsely or deceptively advertising any fur product by misrepresenting or failing to disclose that the fur in any fur product is faux or fake.” However, a new petition filed with the FTC alleges the Neiman Marcus has continued to sell products that appear to violate this agreement. [More]
It’s only been a few weeks since Google launched its YouTube Kids app targeted at the youngest Internet users, and it’s already taking heat from consumer advocates who are asking federal regulators to investigate whether the service’s advertising practices run afoul of the law. [More]
Back in October, the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T’s wireless division for allegedly misleading customers by charging for “unlimited” plans but then reducing data speeds after users passed certain monthly thresholds. AT&T subsequently asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the FTC lacks the authority to bring this type of lawsuit. Yesterday, a federal judge disagreed and sided against AT&T. [More]
You may now be able to change your thermostat from another continent, your fridge might know when you need to buy more eggs, and your connected TV recommends shows and movies. But is your data being used for things other than keeping your house warm, your eggs in stock, and your kids entertained — and, just as importantly — is it secure? [More]
Even though millions of Americans are on the federal Do Not Call list to limit unwanted telemarketing calls, and even though it’s illegal for anyone to make a commercial prerecorded robocall to a consumer who hasn’t given their express consent to receive such calls, the problem persists and is getting worse, with no cure-all solution in the offing. [More]
While DirecTV may make people laugh (or cringe) with its multiple Rob Lowe ads, the thing that matters to many people when choosing between cable and satellite is price. But a new Federal Trade Commission complaint filed against the nation’s second-largest pay-TV service alleges that DirecTV is tricking consumers into believing they’re getting a better deal than they end up with. [More]
Everything you do online — on your phone, on your computer, with anything — leaves a digital wake. Put those trails together and you’ve got one massive big data industry that can (and does) track it all and sell it to the highest bidder. After decades of digital detritus building up, regulators and Congress both are contemplating some steps that would help protect consumers’ info. [More]
‘Microsoft Tech Support’ Phone Scammer Threatens To Cut Man Into Little Pieces & Throw Them Into River
We already know that scammers use a variety of unsavory tactics when trying to take advantage of consumers; from impersonating federal agents to threatening jail time. But an alleged fraudster of the so-called “Microsoft Tech Support” scam took things to a decidedly nastier level when his hustle began to unravel. [More]
While people at various points on the political spectrum may disagree about many topics, one sentiment many of them share is a distaste for prerecorded phone calls from political organizations. Like them or not, they’re generally legal even if the recipient is on the federal Do Not Call list. But when you use a supposedly political telemarketing call to ultimately shill for a cruise line, you’ve crossed over into the dark side. [More]
For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top consumer complaints. But its reign could be coming to an end following a significant increase in the number of scams in which con artists impersonating government agents and law enforcement personnel part consumers from their money.