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]
It’s probably safe to assume that consumers stuck in the payday loan debt-trap have enough financial issues without being deceived by a company promising to make their debts disappear. There may be one less unsavory debt relief company around after the Federal Trade Commission sued to stop an operation that targeted millions of consumers. [More]
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]
There’s bad news, and then there’s the slightly less bad news: In 2014, passengers suffered as airlines were on-time less often, lost bags at a higher rate and bumped more people than the year before. But at least airlines canceled fewer flights, and there were fewer lengthy delays leaving travelers stranded on the tarmac, so there’s that.
When seeking to refinance or modify a home loan, consumer advocates urge consumers to seek assistance from professionals that have no financial stake in the outcome. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case for a group of pitchmen who have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they conned consumers into paying hefty fees for worthless mortgage relief services. [More]
Six months after the Federal Aviation Administration levied a fine against Southwest Airlines for safety violations related to airplane repairs, the agency announced it was investigating similar issues with American Airlines Group after mechanics filed a series of whistleblower complaints and a lawsuit alleging managers for the airline breached FAA rules in order to aid its merger and get planes on the tarmac. [More]
A bad consumer experience can result in a lot of anger, perhaps even rage, toward the offender. For some people, the healthiest way to direct that fury is to have a sense of humor about what happened while still trying to get across the message that they were wronged. While slapping an ironic grin on your vitriol might preempt your punching the wall (or someone else) in frustration, is it any more effective than a dry and humorless complaint? [More]
Despite being the go-to agency for internet issues, the FCC’s website has not exactly got a reputation for user-friendliness. Quite the opposite, in fact. But this week the commission behind the broadband is hoping to change all that with a major site revamp that makes it easier for consumers where to go when they need help.