AT&T Fails At Getting FTC’s Throttling Lawsuit Dismissed

AT&T Fails At Getting FTC’s Throttling Lawsuit Dismissed

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]

FTC Chair Edith Ramirez Talks Privacy, Data Security

FTC Chair Edith Ramirez Talks Privacy, Data Security

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]

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

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]

The Federal Trade Commission says that DirecTV is deceiving consumers by failing to adequately disclose how much these promotional prices will increase after 12 months, that subscribers face hefty early cancellation fees, and that they may be automatically subscribed to expensive premium channels after three months.

Government Accuses DirecTV Of Deceptive Advertising

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]

Lawmakers Want To Know Who’s Tracking You Online, And Where The Info Goes

Lawmakers Want To Know Who’s Tracking You Online, And Where The Info Goes

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]

(Ken Fager)

‘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]

A diagram from the FTC complaint showing how millions of automated marketing robocalls were made each day under the guise of a political survey.

Telemarketers Accused Of Using Political Robocalls To Pitch Caribbean Cruise Packages

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]

Consumers Lost $1.7B To Scams In 2014, Imposter Crimes On The Rise

Consumers Lost $1.7B To Scams In 2014, Imposter Crimes On The Rise

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.
[More]

200,000 Consumers (And Counting) Ask Their Phone Companies To Just Let Them Block Robocalls Already

200,000 Consumers (And Counting) Ask Their Phone Companies To Just Let Them Block Robocalls Already

You still hate robocalls. We still hate robocalls. And over 200,000 other Americans hate robocalls, too, and have signed on to a petition asking their phone companies to just roll out the darn tech to block them already. [More]

(evil robot 6)

SCOTUS: Dentists Can’t Bar Other Businesses From Offering Teeth-Whitening Services

When you want to get your pearly whites professionally polished to their pearliest and whitest, going to the dentist doesn’t have to be the only option, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled today. The justices had looked at a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission against a North Carolina state board dominated by dentists that the agency said had unlawfully excluded non-dentists from teeth-whitening services. [More]

MelApp is one of two melanoma detection apps that came under scrutiny by the FTC.

Feds Warn: These Melanoma Detection Apps Aren’t Supported By Scientific Evidence

Early detection of cancer can help save lives and make treatment easier, so the idea of mobile app that can spot possible skin might seem like a godsend… if there were any science to back it up. [More]

FTC: No Scientific Proof That Mosquito Shield Bands Actually Work

FTC: No Scientific Proof That Mosquito Shield Bands Actually Work

Mint oil smells very nice, but the marketing materials for Viatek’s Mosquito Shield Bands claimed that the plant substance can do more than perfume the air. Their plastic bands were supposed to use the oil to create a 5-foot mosquito-free zone around the wearer. Do they work? No, the Federal Trade Commission says. Not really. [More]

(Don Buciak II)

FTC Challenges Sysco Acquisition Of US Foods

Sysco’s in-person meetings with the Federal Trade Commission didn’t have the desired effect. The foodservice supply giant wanted approval for its planned acquisition of competitor U.S. Foods, but the FTC thinks that Sysco wants to gobble up too much of the market. The commissioners voted 3-2 to block the merger. [More]

(Dan Coulter)

Demand That Phone Companies Give Consumers Free Tools To Block Robocalls

While federal regulations and the Do Not Call list have significantly cut down on some auto-dialed, prerecorded messages, the problem of illegal robocalls still persists, mostly because scammers don’t care if they break the law. There are various technologies that phone companies could use to preempt even more of these calls but most consumers don’t have access to them. [More]

(mslavick)

Feds Warn That Claims Of Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags May Be Full Of… You Know

While some dog owners stick to tried-and-true methods of picking up their canine pals’ waste with the aid of plastic shopping bags, that’s a lot of plastic going into landfills. This is why there are several companies selling poo-collection bags labeled “biodegradable” or “compostable.” But the Federal Trade Commission is warning a number of the companies that make and market these products that they may be running afoul of laws against deceptive advertising. [More]

(gabster_ro)

Appeals Court Sides With FTC In POM Wonderful False Advertising Case

The Federal Trade Commission hasn’t let the bee out of its bonnet over health claims made by POM Wonderful that it says amount to deceptive advertising, having kept on the company’s case since 2010. Now, eight months after POM made its case before a federal appeals court that it’s not being misleading about the things its juice can do, the court is siding with the FTC. [More]

In this post from 2012, the site's operator boldly declares that the site is completely legal, and that he is indemnified. The bottom portion of this screengrab details the rules for sending in photos to the site.

No More Posting Of Nude Photos For Operator Of Revenge Porn Site

My co-workers tell me that there are plenty of websites out there with images and footage of naked people who agreed to be photographed in such revealing conditions. But there are also so-called “revenge porn” sites that post intimate personal photos and videos of people who didn’t consent. Facing a lawsuit from federal regulators, the operator of one such site has agreed to get out of the revenge porn business. [More]

This ad from 2012, cited in the FTC complaint, shows that TracFone did not even mention the possibility of data throttling in the fine print.

TracFone To Refund $40 Million To Customers For Deceptive “Unlimited” Data Claims

Beginning in 2009, TracFone began selling supposedly unlimited prepaid data plans for $45 under brands like Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America, but without clearly disclosing that users who went beyond certain monthly usage thresholds would have their data speeds throttled or cut off entirely. But today, in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, TracFone has agreed to refund $40 million to affected customers. [More]