How Much Control Do You Actually Have Over Your Private Data?

Library of Congress

“Privacy” is the buzz of our era, but… what even is privacy? Different consumers, businesses, and regulators each have their own definitions and perspectives on the issue, while the law, too, is always evolving. [More]

frankieleon

What Can I Do If I Keep Getting Auto-Billed For A Thing I Don’t Want?

Subscriptions and recurring payments are the hot thing these days. From political donations to arts patronage, from subscription boxes to student loans, everyone wants a scheduled monthly slice of your money. And that’s all well and good, as long as you actually want what they’re selling. But what happens if you change your mind? [More]

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Walgreens Will Sell Off Up To 1,000 Stores To Get Approval For Rite Aid Acquisition

When two companies in the same business want to merge, a common condition placed on the merger by authorities may be that one or both companies sell part of its business so there’s still some competition in the market. It looks likely that the Federal Trade Commission will approve the proposed merger of Walgreens Rite Aid, but Walgreens may have to give up more locations before the deal goes through. [More]

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New York Launches Antitrust Investigation Into EpiPen Schools Program

Amid calls for drugmaker Mylan to drop the price of emergency allergy treatment EpiPen, the attorney general for the state of New York has launched an antitrust investigation into a program that helps to put EpiPens in schools, potentially to the detriment of competition. At the same time, U.S. lawmakers are pushing regulators for a federal antitrust probe on the program. [More]

Facebook

Consumer Privacy Groups File FTC Complaint Over Facebook, WhatsApp Data Sharing

It’s been less than a week since WhatsApp announced it would start sharing some user data with parent company Facebook, but in that short time, app users and privacy advocates alike have raised a ruckus over what they see as a broken promise. Now, some consumer privacy watchdog groups have filed a formal complaint with the FTC, asking them to look into it.

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Court Throws Out Federal Government’s Lawsuit Over AT&T “Unlimited” Data Plans

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Nearly two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T for allegedly misleading wireless customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while simultaneously throttling their cellular connection speeds when they passed certain monthly thresholds. AT&T failed in 2015 to get the case dismissed in District Court, but yesterday succeeded in convincing a federal appeals court to throw out the government’s complaint. [More]

Feds Accuse 1-800 Contacts Of Badvertising

Feds Accuse 1-800 Contacts Of Badvertising

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit today against 1-800 Contacts, accusing the online lens retailer of making agreements with more than a dozen competitors to not compete with each other for online search ads, resulting in lens buyers paying higher prices. [More]

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FTC Sends Warning Letters To Online Marketers Peddling Ineffective Zika-Prevention Products

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]

Dog Food Company Accused Of Falsely Advertising It Could Extend Dog’s Life By 30%

Dog Food Company Accused Of Falsely Advertising It Could Extend Dog’s Life By 30%

As the proud pop of a pup, of course I want him to live as long and happy a life as possible. At the same time, I’d hope that any product claiming to be able to extend my dog’s years has the evidence to back up this boast. [More]

Xavier J. Peg

New Rules Would Require Debt Collectors Have Proof You Actually Owe Money

One of the most common complaints about debt collectors is that they harass people over debts that are either no longer owed, or weren’t owed in the first place. Federal regulators are now proposing rules that — among other protections — would cut down on these annoying, bogus collections actions by requiring that debt collectors have some sort of evidence that the person they are calling actually owes money. [More]

Cancer Centers Tripled Ad Spending In Last Decade; Are They Pushing Hope Or Hype?

Cancer Centers Tripled Ad Spending In Last Decade; Are They Pushing Hope Or Hype?

If you watch cable TV — especially basic cable during the daytime — you’ve likely seen your share of heartwarming ads showing off cancer survivors who were saved from the brink by the handsome physicians and nurses at [Fill In The Blank] cancer treatment center. Over the last decade, direct-to-consumer marketing by cancer centers has soared, with much of that spending concentrated in the hands of about two dozen operators. However, some doctors are concerned that these ads aren’t selling patients on the reality, but on the experiences of a few rare cases. [More]

Herbalife To Pay $200M To Members Who Lost Money; Must Change Business Model

Herbalife To Pay $200M To Members Who Lost Money; Must Change Business Model

Five months after Herbalife was reported to be working on a settlement to resolve a federal probe into its often controversial business practices – or what some people claim is a pyramid scheme – the company has agreed to restructure its business model and pay $200 million to consumers who purchased large quantities of its products and lost money. [More]

Warner Bros. Paid Popular YouTubers To Post Positive Clips About Video Game

Warner Bros. Paid Popular YouTubers To Post Positive Clips About Video Game

Being a “social media influencer” must be a pretty sweet deal: People send you free stuff, and pay you money just in the hopes that you’ll say nice things about their products. Problem is, those companies can get into trouble if the influencers don’t properly reveal that they were paid for their commentary. [More]

Best-Selling Author & Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau Makes Pitch To Supreme Court

Best-Selling Author & Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau Makes Pitch To Supreme Court

Two years after being sentenced to a decade in federal prison for repeatedly defrauding American consumers, best-selling liar Kevin Trudeau is hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will take a different view of his case than all of the previous courts. [More]

FTC Investigating Ashley Madison, New CEO Confirms

FTC Investigating Ashley Madison, New CEO Confirms

The hack that leaked 30 million customers’ data all over the internet may be a year in the past, but things are still rough for intentional-infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, which now finds itself the target of a federal probe.

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$6.3 Million In Refunds Going Out To Buyers Of Book Written By Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau

$6.3 Million In Refunds Going Out To Buyers Of Book Written By Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau

More than two years after “author,” infomercial pitchman, and professional liar Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to 10 years in prison for repeatedly making bogus weight-loss claims about his book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About, some of the hundreds of thousands of people conned into buying the book will be getting their money back. [More]

Jenn and Tony Bot

Feds Shut Down Florida-Based Debt-Relief Robocall Scammers

A federal court has issued a restraining order against a network of Florida-based robocallers who bilked more than $15.6 million from victims through the use of auto-dialed, prerecorded scam calls pitching bogus credit card rate reduction under the generic guise “Bank Card Services” or “Credit Assistance Program.” [More]

John Oliver Buys $15M In Medical Debt, Then Forgives It

John Oliver Buys $15M In Medical Debt, Then Forgives It

We can tell you about the growing problem of medical debt and how hospitals are suing thousands of patients for having the gall to be both sick and poor, or how debt collectors screw-up and use illegal tactics to get paid for debts they often can’t even prove that anyone owes. But that’s nothing compared to the sight of a goofy English guy forgiving $15 million in medical debt he bought for pennies on the dollar. [More]