Late last year, research indicated that certain toys may be collecting audio recording and personal information from children and sending that data to a company that used the information to improve the voice-recognition tools it sells to the military and law enforcement agencies. While consumer advocates quickly filed complaints with federal regulators in the U.S., across the pond, authorities in Germany are now directing parents to get rid of the “My Friend Cayla” doll. [More]
The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule is a bit of consumer protection that one doesn’t think about much unless until shopping for funeral services. Fortunately, the FTC sends undercover investigators out across the country to check whether individual funeral homes are treating customers in a way that complies with the rule. [More]
Obtaining a high school diploma can be a gateway for a consumers’ future, whether it be moving on to a college or university or scoring a job. But, as thousand of students of Stratford Career Institute found, a diploma is only good if it’s recognized. To that end, the correspondence school has agreed to a suspended $6.5 million settlement resolving federal regulator’s allegations that it misled students about its high school diploma course. [More]
When the weather outside is frightful, losing your heat or electricity is the last thing you want to have happened. But don’t let your fear of such an event push you into falling for a common scam perpetrated by fraudsters trying to pass themselves off as utility company employees on the phone. [More]
When it comes to customer service, Facebook is notoriously difficult deal with, which is why people go searching on Google and elsewhere for any sort of reliable contact information for the site. But beware: There’s a scammy phone number lurking on the internet, passing itself off as “Facebook customer service.” [More]
The EpiPen was a perfect symbol of the current state of pharmaceutical companies and health care expenses: It was a life-saving drug that had been around for decades, often used by children, and with a price that kept rising. The controversy over the epinephrine injectors led to news stories, a Congressional hearing, a $465 million settlement for overcharging Medicaid, and investigations by the states of New York and West Virginia.
Last Friday, Jan. 27, was the deadline for the deal to close in the proposed acquisition of drugstore chain Rite Aid by competitor Walgreens. Today, the companies announced a revised deal with an eye to meeting Federal Trade Commission approval. This deal values Rite Aid at over $2 billion less, and proposes the sale of hundreds more stores to another drugstore chain. [More]
Is there an ad that seems to be following you everywhere? Perhaps you browsed for new sneakers in a slow moment at work a week ago, and now you see ads for them on every site you view on your phone? Or maybe you clicked an ad on Facebook, and now that company’s product seems to be stalking you around the internet, asking you to buy it in every sidebar ad you see. [More]
Days after federal regulators sued smartphone and device chip maker Qualcomm accusing it of antitrust violations, one of the company’s largest customers, Apple, is following suit, seeking $1 billion in damages. [More]
For years now we’ve been warning consumers about the apartment rental credit check scam: a scheme where homes (that may not even exist) are listed online with the sole purpose of tricking prospective renters into paying for “credit checks” that will never be done. Today, federal regulators announced they had put a stop to one company accused of using bogus listings and fees to swindle millions out of hopeful tenants. [More]
Prevagen is a dietary supplement that claims to help improve memory in 90 days, but both federal and state regulators are accusing the company behind Prevagen of making false and unsubstantiated claims. [More]
Staying in a hotel comes at a price — there’s the room rate, service charges, taxes, and hotels are increasingly taking on “resort fees” to cover amenities like internet access, parking, gym, spa, and pool — even if you never use them. These fees, which can significantly increase the total cost of a room, are almost never included in the advertised price and are often minimized or omitted until it comes time to actually book your stay.
Internet-connected (“smart”) devices are becoming ubiquitous, but they have this persistent problem: they’re internet-connected. A huge number are extremely vulnerable to being taken over by bad actors, for a whole host of reasons. And so, before your fridge becomes part of the next record-breaking botnet, the Federal Trade Commission wants to give someone cold, hard, cash money for coming up with a way to prevent it. [More]
Earlier this year, Bass Pro Shops offered to buy up one of its biggest competitors, Cabela’s, for $5.5 billion. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the deal now, and is raising concerns that this might be too much consolidation in the hunting and fishing market. [More]