Creator Of “Your Baby Can Read” Program Settles False Advertising Charges

Creator Of “Your Baby Can Read” Program Settles False Advertising Charges

Almost exactly two years after the Federal Trade Commission accused the people behind the popular “Your Baby Can Read” training program of making deceptive advertising claims, the product’s creator has finally reached a deal to settle charges that he and his company made baseless pronouncements about the effectiveness of the program and that they misrepresented scientific studies to prove these bogus statements. [More]

This screengrab from the company's website was used as evidence in the FTC's complaint.

You Can’t Sell “Made In The USA” Seals Without Checking That Products Live Up To That Label

As we’ve talked about in previous stories, while there are federal guidelines about what constitutes a “Made In America” product, manufacturers are operating on an honor system because it would be too onerous a task for the government to actually investigate every product claiming to be American-made. But if a company charges thousands of dollars for seals that indicate that a product’s Made In USA bona fides have been verified, it should actually be doing something to check those claims. [More]

$9.3M In Refunds Going Out To People Who Bought Ab Circle Pro

$9.3M In Refunds Going Out To People Who Bought Ab Circle Pro

We’ve covered so many sketchy fitness devices over the years that when we recently mocked the Ab Circle Pro for its obvious before/after Photoshop hackery, we’d forgotten that the marketers of this device were hit with a massive settlement in 2012 for falsely claiming that it could give you rock-hard abs if you used it for only three minutes a day. Well, we’re remembering now, because the Federal Trade Commission is currently sending out $9.3 million in refunds to Ab Circle Pro owners. [More]

Even Scofflaws With $270K In Debt Have The Right To Not Be Cyberstalked By Collectors

(Paul Barwick)

We recently told you about the woman who admitted she indeed owed Kohl’s $20, but sued the retailer for being over-eager about collecting on the debt. But does a debt collector have more leeway to be a pest when the debt is 13,500 times that amount? [More]

3 Scams Targeted At Hotel Guests

3 Scams Targeted At Hotel Guests

Between all the fees and add-on charges that can come with a hotel reservation, just booking a room for the night can make you feel like you’ve been taken for a ride. But even when the hotel isn’t trying to nickel-and-dime you, there are scammers out there ready to steal your money by preying on common assumptions made by hotel guests. [More]

(Photo: David Blackwell)

Phony Payday Loan Brokers Must Turn Over Rolls Royce, Maserati, Ferrari To Feds

When someone goes hunting for a payday loan — just looking to get their hands on a small amount of cash to tide them over until the next paycheck — it’s bad enough that they can end up trapped in a hellish debt cycle that sees them taking out loan after loan. But the FTC says a Tampa-based operation preyed upon these already-desperate victims by tricking them into applying for payday loans, only to steal their info and what little money they had. [More]

Amazon Sued By Feds Over In-App Purchases

(Alan Rappa)

Last week, Amazon made it clear to the Federal Trade Commission that it wasn’t going to fork over a ton of cash to close an investigation into the e-tailer’s in-app purchase policy. And today the FTC made it clear that it intends to pursue its complaint against Amazon, suing the company in federal court. [More]

(Stephen Woods)

Amazon Willing To Pick Fight With Feds On In-App Purchases

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to refund $32.5 million to customers of its App Store in order to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that the computer company did little to protect users from inadvertent in-app purchases. The FTC is looking to reach a similar deal with Amazon over its app store, but the online giant has said the government will probably have to make its case in court. [More]

(David Guija Alcaraz)

T-Mobile: We Shouldn’t Be Sued Over Bill-Cramming Because We’re Not Doing It Anymore & We’re Super-Sorry

Earlier this afternoon, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against T-Mobile, alleging the wireless carrier made hundreds of millions of dollars off of bogus premium text-messaging charges “crammed” onto customers’ bills. The response from T-Mobile CEO John Legere isn’t exactly what you would describe as contrite. [More]

This sample provided by the FTC demonstrates how T-Mobile allegedly hid these charges from consumers.

T-Mobile Accused Of Making A Ton Of Cash From Bogus Charges On Phone Bills

T-Mobile, a company that has tried to position itself as being consumer-friendly, has been accused by federal regulators of being anything but friendly. The self-described “Un-carrier” has been accused in federal court of making hundreds of millions of dollars off of so-called “premium” text-messaging subscriptions that were often never requested by subscribers. [More]

(saramarie)

Feds Warn Consumers Against Taking Pension Advances

Unfortunately, not everyone currently in retirement has enough cash on hand to stay afloat, even those fortunate enough to receive a pension from their former employer. That’s why it might be tempting to solve a short-term money problem by taking out a pension advance, which pays you a lump sum now for signing over your pension payments to the lender for anywhere from a few years to a decade. Today, the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers to think twice before agreeing to one of these loans. [More]

"Why are you calling me about Uncle Caranthir's overdue payday loan?" (Photo: Zoomar)

Debt Collection Scammers Calling Victims’ Family & Co-Workers To Squeeze Money From People

A debt collection scam operates on two principles: That lots of us have debt, and that the con artist is good enough at his art to trick some of us into believing we have to pay immediately. But some scammers are bringing outside parties into their grift, contacting victims’ families and co-workers in the hopes that this will result in pressure to pay up on the bogus debt. [More]

Surprise! L’Oréal’s “Gene Boosting” Products Don’t Really Boost Your Genes Or Make You Younger

Surprise! L’Oréal’s “Gene Boosting” Products Don’t Really Boost Your Genes Or Make You Younger

The Federal Trade Commission announced this afternoon that it has reached a settlement deal with cosmetics giant L’Oréal regarding charges of deceptive advertising about its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products, which the company’s ad say provide anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes. [More]

CarMax Should Be More Transparent About Selling Recalled Vehicles

CarMax Should Be More Transparent About Selling Recalled Vehicles

When CarMax, the nation’s largest seller of used vehicles, claims each of its “Quality Certified” cars has undergone a “125+ point inspection,” and that only 1-in-3 of the cars it considers is accepted for sale, you might assume this means it isn’t selling recalled vehicles. This is not always true, and a coalition of consumer advocacy groups allege that it’s a case of deceptive marketing. [More]

This Is One Of The Scammiest Payday Loans We’ve Ever Seen

This Is One Of The Scammiest Payday Loans We’ve Ever Seen

Many payday loans have confusing terms and questionable fees that end up costing the borrower a lot more than they’d planned on when they took out the short-term loan. But it’s mind-boggling how one predatory lender managed to squeeze money from borrowers through an automatic opt-in renewal program that turns a $300 loan into $975 worth of payments in only a few months. [More]

Feds Say Bogus Debt-Relief Operation Just Left Consumers Deeper In Debt

Feds Say Bogus Debt-Relief Operation Just Left Consumers Deeper In Debt

Being elbows-deep in debt is a scary thing, so when a service tells you that you can “become debt free and enjoy financial independence” and that it can reduce how much you owe by “70 to 80 percent on average including all fees,” it might be tempting to give it a shot. But don’t be shocked when you end up scammed out of whatever money you have. [More]

Sellers Of “Pure Green Coffee” Accused Of Faking News Sites, Creating Bogus Reporter

On the left, "staff reporter Helen Hasman," who has an identical twin in Mélissa Theuriau on the right.

If you’re a regular watcher of the ethically questionable Dr. Oz, then you may remember how he helped start a minor “green coffee extract” craze a couple years back by declaring it a miracle weight loss drug. In an attempt to cash in on this dubious hype, a number of sites started popping up within weeks, repeating and exaggerating the already puffed-up claims, and using fake endorsements, faux news articles and fictional “reporters.” [More]

FTC To NJ, Missouri: Please Don’t Block Tesla & Others From Selling Cars Directly To Consumers

FTC To NJ, Missouri: Please Don’t Block Tesla & Others From Selling Cars Directly To Consumers

After lawmakers in New Jersey and Missouri both recently proposed regulations that would prohibit car companies like Tesla Motors from selling vehicles directly to consumers instead of through independent dealers, the Federal Trade Commission is weighing in with comments for legislators in those states, urging them to consider abandoning existing laws and change things up a bit. . [More]