Using fake news stories and trumped-up, unsubstantiated claims, the marketers of a supplement that claimed to be the answer to memory loss problems sold nearly $100 million worth of the stuff in just a few years. Now they have to fork over $1.4 million to federal and state authorities for making these deceptive statements, and face millions more in penalties if they fail to comply. [More]
Some reward programs aren’t really rewarding. In fact, some are downright harmful to consumers. That was apparently the case with an Ohio-based smartphone app developer that recently agreed to settle charges that it hijacked consumers’ phones through a seemingly innocuous gaming app. [More]
Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the lure of a “risk-free trial” when it comes with a product that promises to leave your skin youthful, radiant and as soft as a baby’s bottom. But as the Federal Trade Commission once again reminds us, those deals often come with strings attached and hollow promises. [More]
Net neutrality only went into effect last Friday, but the first formal complaint against an ISP for breaking the rule is already on its way. The target? Time Warner Cable.
While a report earlier this year suggested that consumers don’t spend nearly enough time shopping for the right mortgage, that doesn’t mean lenders are off the hook for purposefully steering potential homeowners into costlier mortgages. Because doing so will land a company in hot water with federal regulators. Just ask RPM Mortgage and its top executive, who must now pay $20 million for their allegedly deceptive practices. [More]
Ford Motor Company issued two new recalls Wednesday covering nearly 445,000 vehicles after receiving numerous complaint and incident reports, including at least four accidents related to loss of power steering and high underbody temperatures. [More]
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]
Since Google launched the YouTube Kids app in February, the service has come under fire from consumer advocates for its advertising practices. Now, instead of focusing on the commercials shown through the service, several of those same groups are raising concerns with federal regulators over what they call disturbing and potentially harmful content for young children to view. [More]
Back in September ITT Educational Services – the operator of for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute – revealed it was facing increased scrutiny by several government agencies. That scrutiny turned to action this week as the Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against current and former executives with the company for their part in concealing problems with company-run student loan programs. [More]
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened and closed an investigation into lighting issues in several models of Ford vehicles back in 2008 without demanding a recall. That decision apparently isn’t sitting well with a consumer group that has petitioned the agency to reopen the case after receiving additional complaints. [More]
The marketer of popular “as-seen-on-TV” products such as Snuggies, Magic Mesh door covers and Perfect Brownie Pans must pay $8 million to resolve federal and state charges it deceived consumers with promises of buy-one-get-one-free promotions and then charged exorbitant fees for processing and handling, nearly doubling the cost of the products. [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.
Just like one of those action movies where a federal agent gets paired up with a small-town sheriff who knows all the bad guys in the area, the Federal Trade Commission has brought its crackdown on abusive debt collectors to New York and partnered with the Empire State’s attorney general to shut down a pair of unsavory operators. [More]