Judge says he's been spending money he didn't want the FTC to know about.

Judge Jails TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau So He’ll Cooperate In Fraudulent Infomercial Case

How do you make a slippery late-night TV pitchman sit still and behave? If you’re a federal judge fed up with Kevin Trudeau’s shenanigans you put him in jail. Trudeau has reportedly flouted court orders to pay millions in fines stemming from fraudulent infomercials, and now the judge says he’s been spending money on stuff like cigars and fancy meat when he shouldn’t be. [More]

(the idealist)

What Does It Actually Mean For A Product To Be “Green” Or “Environmentally Friendly”?

When you see a product with the image of a smiling planet wrapped in green, leafy foliage and touting its “eco-friendly” quality, what do you think? Probably something like, “Oh, that’s probably good for the environment or can be recycled or something?” You aren’t alone in your confusion/generalization — even though the Federal Trade Commission updated its Green Guides for environmental advertising, plenty of people are still hazy on the whole idea. [More]

Buzzfeed makes no attempt to disguise sponsored content. Other sites take a stealthier approach.

Feds To Investigate The Fuzzy Line Between Advertising & Editorial Content

Call them “advertorials,” “sponsored stories,” “brand journalism,” or — the latest nonsense term — “native advertising,” but it’s all the same: An ad that looks an awful lot like — and is often not distinguishable from — a website’s editorial content. Since consumers have long stopped even noticing banners, click away from pages with auto-play video ads, and increasingly use mobile devices to go online, advertisers have turned to these ad-wolves in editorial sheep’s clothing. [More]

Buyers Of Not-So-Magic Cold And Weight Loss Supplements To Receive Refunds From FTC

Buyers Of Not-So-Magic Cold And Weight Loss Supplements To Receive Refunds From FTC

There is no magic pill for weight loss, not even if that pill contains a tapeworm. Yet companies keep introducing and marketing such pills, because we’re human and like to eat ice cream sandwiches and wish that such a thing existed. People who bought one not-so-magic supplement are getting refund checks this week from the Federal Trade Commission. [More]

FTC Looking Into Recent Change To Facebook Privacy Policy

FTC Looking Into Recent Change To Facebook Privacy Policy

Back in 2011, Facebook settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission that the website deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information private, only to repeatedly allow that information to be shared and made public. The settlement requires that Facebook get explicit permission from users before sharing such information, but the FTC wants to know if the website’s latest privacy update violates that agreement. [More]


FTC: Webcam Company’s Lax Security Led To Invasions Of Privacy

It’s all fun and Internet-connected games until someone gets spied on, says the Federal Trade Commission in a recent action it’s taking to protect consumers from seemingly innocent digital devices. The Internet of Things makes it so we can be online all the time, with our appliances, vehicles and many other objects we interact with on a daily basis. But the FTC is warning customers about webcams from TRENDnet that might not be so secure. [More]


What’s Worse Than A Payday Loan? A Payday Loan Scammer

Short-term, high-interest payday loans are illegal in several states, but that doesn’t stop consumers from trying to get their hands on quick cash. So when they see a website offering to hook them up with a payday lender and get them up to $1,000 in about an hour, it may seem like a good deal. That is, until that loan never shows up and the borrower has even less money in her bank account. [More]

It’s Against The Law For Car Dealers To Not Give Consumers All Relevant Info About Deals

It’s Against The Law For Car Dealers To Not Give Consumers All Relevant Info About Deals

Take a look at the ad to the left promising $12,000 off MSRP for a 2013 Ford F-150. That’s a heck of an offer for a truck that starts at around $24,000. But what you don’t see — and what you don’t find out until you try to buy the vehicle — is that the discount only applies to the $47,000 F-150 Lariat version, so instead of getting a 50% discount on a reasonably priced new truck, you learn that it’s around a 25% savings on a high-end vehicle. [More]


Please Don’t Press Any Buttons When You Get A Scammy Robocall

We regularly receive complaints from readers who receive robocalls even though their numbers are on the Do Not Call List or they pressed “2″ to have their numbers removed. The fact is that these robocallers simply don’t care about the law or whether you want to hear from them. [More]


$11 Million Penalty Apparently Wasn’t Enough To Stop Scammy Telemarketers

Back in 2007-8, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a sketchy telemarketing company called Suntasia Marketing, Inc., for defrauding consumers and charging their bank accounts without consent programs they never enrolled in, like memberships in discount buyer’s and travel clubs. Two of the defendants behind the scam were hit with $11 million settlements and barred from getting involved in these sorts of shenanigans in the future, but that apparently wasn’t sufficient penalty to set them on a righteous path. [More]

‘Winning In The Cash Flow Business’ Scammers Banned From Polluting Airwaves With Infomercials

‘Winning In The Cash Flow Business’ Scammers Banned From Polluting Airwaves With Infomercials

Do you need money? Everybody does, am I right? But not everyone has time to become a Wall Street lawyer. That’s why you need a simple, 3-step system to guide you through the process of making millions from the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, you won’t be hearing about that system from Russ “Winning in the Cash Flow Business” Dalbey or his wife Catherine, as they have been banned from stinking up your late-night TV watching with any of their infomercials. [More]

"Just because we're bereaved doesn't make us saps!" -- Walter Sobchak

Nearly 1-In-5 Funeral Homes Found Violating Consumer Protection Rules

In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission enacted the Funeral Rule, a set of consumer protection guidelines for U.S. funeral home operators covering everything from pricing transparency to casket-handling fees. And every year, FTC investigators go undercover to spot-check the funeral home industry to see if folks are abiding by the rules. According to the latest report, a significant number of them are not. [More]

Skechers Shape-Ups Magic Workout Shoes Refund Checks In The Mail

If you bought Skechers Shape-Ups shoes and filed with the Federal Trade Commission for a refund, get ready to go shopping for some new sneakers: your check will be in the mail soon. Skechers hasn’t admitted that they did anything wrong, but did reach a $40 million settlement with the FTC for putting out ads that claimed walking around in their shoes is a workout. [Previously]

World’s Largest Debt Collector To Pay $3.2 Million Penalty For Harassing Consumers

World’s Largest Debt Collector To Pay $3.2 Million Penalty For Harassing Consumers

It’s highly possible you’ve never heard of Expert Global Solutions, but it’s the largest debt-collection operation in the world. It also is the subject of a recent Federal Trade Commission complaint alleging that the company and its subsidiaries violated federal law by harassing consumers. [More]


Mortgage Broker To Pay Record $7.5M Penalty Over Allegations It Violated “Do Not Call” Rules

The Federal Trade Commission is marking the 10-year anniversary of the “Do Not Call” registry by announcing a $7.5 million civil penalty against a mortgage broker that had allegedly targeted U.S. servicemembers. It’s the largest fee the FTC has ever collected related to the Do Not Call provisions Telemarketing Sales Rule, and also serves as warning to companies trying to push deceptive mortgage ads. [More]

(the idealist)

FTC Initiative Wants You To “Reclaim Your Name” From Big Data Brokers

We all know that there are companies out there sucking up consumers’ information and selling it — sometimes to people or entities they shouldn’t — but what no one really knows is exactly who has that data. While there are a few ways for consumers to check activity data on specific sites, there’s no catch-all resource for people to go to and see what their name/info is up to. The Federal Trade Commission wants to change that with a “Reclaim Your Name” proposal. [More]

FTC To Search Engines: Do A Better Job Of Labeling Paid Search Results As Ads

FTC To Search Engines: Do A Better Job Of Labeling Paid Search Results As Ads

A decade ago, the Federal Trade Commission told the major Internet search engines that they should be more transparent about search results that received premium placement because the advertiser paid for it. The companies eventually obliged, but the FTC says that search engines have backslid and begun being less-than-transparent again, and that they could still do more to distinguish between ads and organic search results. [More]


FTC To Google: Hang On A Minute While We Investigate This Waze Deal

Google might want to start trying to pour the bubbly it poured over its $1.1 billion acquisition of social mapping company Waze back into the bottle, at least until the Federal Trade Commission is done with its antitrust review of the deal. The company confirmed that it’s been contacted by antitrust lawyers from the FTC, which isn’t a surprise. You take one huge company and have it buy up another smaller one, and the FTC will be there. [More]