As part of a $15 billion settlement with the federal government, Volkswagen agreed to buy back hundreds of thousands of vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating “defeat devices.” While the lure of receiving more than the current value of their vehicle is presumably high for customers who feel duped by VW, federal regulators want to ensure these consumers receive what they’re entitled to through the settlement. [More]
It’s been a busy week for authorities going after sham products: a day after the New York Attorney General’s office announced that six companies had agreed to stop selling products that are ineffective at warding off Zika-carrying mosquitoes, the Federal Trade Commission is reminding a slew of businesses marketing Zika-prevention products that it’s illegal to make health claims that simply aren’t true. [More]
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway are intended as a way to give travelers varied and interesting lodging options, while letting homeowners make a bit of money when they aren’t at home. However, a group of three senators are concerned that the affordable housing market is being squeezed by the increasing number of property owners cashing in on short-term rentals.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if a window pops up on your computer alerting you that your device has been compromised by a malware attack and offers to fix the problem by calling a toll-free number, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. To that end: federal regulators and the state of Florida have accused an international tech support operation of bilking millions of dollars from American consumers. [More]
Last year, Sunrise Nutraceuticals was one of more than 100 supplement companies sued by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly making unfounded health or disease-treatment claims. To settle that suit, Sunrise has agreed to stop falsely claiming that its Elimidrol dietary supplement can alleviate the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. [More]
The Federal Trade Commission may have dropped its probe into Walmart’s misuse of “Made in U.S.A.” labeling last fall, but an advertising watchdog group says a more recent analysis of the retailer’s website found it continues to label products with the designation even though they were manufactured in other countries. [More]
Location-based advertising allows companies to better target consumers with ads that make the most sense for them. However, tracking the location of someone without their permission is a big no-no. Just ask InMobi which must pay $950,000 and revamp its services to resolve federal regulators’ claims that it deceptively tracked locations of hundreds of millions of people, including children. [More]
With the Zika virus spreading across tropical regions of South and North America, consumers are likely looking for ways to ensure they aren’t bitten by disease-carrying mosquitos as summer approaches. But there’s one option they should stay away from: so-called mosquito shield bands. [More]
When you’re in the supermarket and see a big, loud “Lower Price” sticker covering up an everyday price and showing a discount of anywhere from $.20 to $5, you’d expect that the price being covered up would be the original, higher amount. That’s why some Aldi shoppers are confused about why the discounted price on the sticker is the same as the price it’s covering up. [More]
On Tuesday evening, a federal judge in Washington, DC issued a preliminary injunction preventing the merger of Staples and Office Depot. The two companies called off their merger after that, but here’s the thing about the hearing: the FTC presented its case against the formation of an international office supply Voltron, but the stores decided not to put up a defense. In hindsight, that seems like a terrible idea. Why would they do that? [More]
Two years ago, newspapers began warning consumers that subscription renewal notices, which ask for your credit card and personal information, may look legitimate, but are more than likely a ploy by unscrupulous companies to get their hands on your money. Today, the Federal Trade Commission took a step to rein in this scheme by suing the operators of dozens of interrelated companies that send out such notices. [More]
A week after European regulators announced an investigation into Google’s requirements that Android-based devices come pre-loaded with Google apps, a similar stateside probe is finally getting off the ground. [More]
Because there is no magical indoor tanning system that uses UV lamps and comes with a 100% guarantee you will not get cancer from using it, a company that marketed indoor tanning systems will have to pay out refunds to consumers under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. [More]
One would assume when buying a product marketed as “all-natural” or “100% natural” that said product wouldn’t contain synthetic ingredients like phenoxyethanol or polyethylene, right? Wrong. At least, that’s the cases for five companies facing action by federal regulators for allegedly making false claims about their products’ ingredients.