Cancer Charities That Scammed $75M From Donors Must Shut Down, Issue Refunds

Cancer Charities That Scammed $75M From Donors Must Shut Down, Issue Refunds

Last May, an investigation involving federal regulators and prosecutors from all 50 states led to four national cancer charities being charged with swindling consumers out of $187 million in charitable donations. Today, two of those bogus charities — responsible for $75 million in bilked donations — have agreed to close up shop and provide refunds to donors.

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Feds Sue Volkswagen For Deceptive “Clean Diesel” Advertising

Feds Sue Volkswagen For Deceptive “Clean Diesel” Advertising

We all know by now that Volkswagen’s “Clean Diesel” vehicles were anything but, and that the carmaker deliberately used so-called “defeat devices” to cheat on emissions tests. Now, in an effort to get compensation for people who purchased one of these dirty diesels, the Federal Trade Commission has sued VW, accusing the company of deceptive advertising. [More]

Judge Scolds FTC For Maybe Telling Amazon Exec What To Say In Staples-Office Depot Hearing

Mike Mozart and 
frankieleon

Is Amazon a valid competitor to Staples and Office Depot for the business of corporate office supply customers? In a hearing in the federal lawsuit that the Federal Trade Commission has filed against the two retailers, the government argues that it isn’t yet, and the two stores argue that it is, or soon will be. Yesterday, an attorney for Staples accused the FTC of telling an Amazon executive what to say in his testimony about his company’s plans for office supply domination, earning criticism from the judge. [More]

Group Accuses ‘Your Baby Can Read’ Creators Of Violating False Advertising Settlement With ‘Your Baby Can Learn’

Group Accuses ‘Your Baby Can Read’ Creators Of Violating False Advertising Settlement With ‘Your Baby Can Learn’

Nearly two years ago, the creators of the popular Your Baby Can Read! series of videos put an end to a Federal Trade Commission deceptive advertising complaint by agreeing to cease making unsubstantiated claims about any product that purports to teach kids how to read. But the advocacy group that first spurred the FTC into action says that the creators of this program are violating that 2014 deal. [More]

Mike Mozart and 
frankieleon

Staples, Office Depot, And FTC Make Opening Arguments In Merger Hearing

Today was the first day of the federal court hearing where Staples and Office Depot are making their cases about whether a proposed merger of the two companies would be beneficial to or terrible for consumers. Today, both sides made their opening arguments. The FTC is concerned about possible price hikes for consumers, and the two office supply companies are concerned that Amazon is going to crush them. [More]

(Byron Chin)

App Developers Warned: You Need To Tell Consumers First If You’re Going To Eavesdrop

Your phone has a microphone, and it listens — but not just when you’re making a call or practicing a second language on purpose. It listens whenever an app tells it to, and to whatever happens to be around you for it to hear. And if an app does that without telling you first, it could be in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Lord & Taylor Gets Slap On Wrist For Paying Instagram “Influencers” To Run Secret Ads

Lord & Taylor Gets Slap On Wrist For Paying Instagram “Influencers” To Run Secret Ads

If you’re getting paid to chat up a product or brand on social media, you need to disclose your relationship with what you’re shilling. That’s why retailer Lord & Taylor ended up in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission after paying high-profile Instagram accounts to secretly market their clothing without revealing that these were just ads. [More]

Herbalife Working On Settlement To Resolve FTC Investigation Into Business Practices

Herbalife Working On Settlement To Resolve FTC Investigation Into Business Practices

Nearly two years ago nutritional company Herbalife revealed that it was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for its often controversial business practices, or what some people claim is a pyramid scheme. Now, it looks like the company is ready to put the federal probe behind it. [More]

Essendant Agrees To Buy Commercial Business From Staples And Office Depot If FTC Approves Merger

Essendant Agrees To Buy Commercial Business From Staples And Office Depot If FTC Approves Merger

Staples and Office Depot want to merge and form one mega-chain of office supply stores that you mostly visit to drop off UPS packages. The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t approve of this union, because both sell supplies and serve as wholesalers to smaller office suppliers. The companies announced late yesterday that they’ve reached an agreement with Essendant, a smaller national supplier, to take over some of that business if the merger goes through. [More]

(frankieleon)

Credit Card Processor For Work-At-Home Scam Companies Settles FTC Charges

When you respond to an ad promising untold wealth if you start an at-home business, someone in a call center will contact you and try to extract your credit or debit card number. There needs to be a credit card processing company involved to run that transaction, though, and the company that did so for the Tax Club work-at-home scam operation has now settled up with the Federal Trade Commission for its role in the scam. [More]

Ads for these products promised rapid weight loss (without anything to back up that claim), used fake customer testimonials, and promised "risk-free" trials that were all but impossible to get out of.

Scammy Sellers Of AF Plus, Final Trim Weight-Loss Pills Made Millions From Bogus “Risk-Free” Trials

You may have heard radio ads for weight loss supplements named AF Plus and Final Trim, promising “24 hours of fat burning power” and “maximum weight loss,” along with supposed real-world testimonials about how well these pills worked — and how you can try them now through a “risk-free” trial. Problem is, those people in the ads claiming they lost all that weight are just as fictitious as the free trial. [More]

Full Disclosure: Neither Butterfinger nor Simon & Garfunkel paid to be advertised in this story. (photo: Renee Rendler-Kaplan)

Feds Clarify When & How Advertisers Need To Reveal They Paid For Sponsored Stories

If you’re reading a website about business travel and you read an interesting news story about saving money on hotels, does it matter to you if that “article” was paid for by an advertiser? If so, how should that sponsorship be communicated to the reader? [More]

Federal Regulators Still Objecting To Marriage Of Staples And Office Depot

Federal Regulators Still Objecting To Marriage Of Staples And Office Depot

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission went to court in an effort to block the pending merger of office-supply mega chains Staples and Office Depot, saying that it would result in too little competition in the market for supplies being sold to businesses. Since then, Staples has tried to revise the deal to make it more palatable, but to no avail. [More]

The makers of NeverCurl allegedly urged one their competitors to agree to sell their product at the same price on Amazon.

Collusion Scandal Grips Rug Accessory Industry

We’d like to think that only huge corporations — titans of telecom, colossi of crude, barons of beef — run by guys who look like Rich Uncle Pennybags are involved in sketchy backroom collusion. But even players in “I didn’t know they even existed” markets try to get overly clever and rig the system to their advantage. [More]

CenturyLink customers joined Consumers Union's End Robocalls team this morning to deliver a petition to the CL offices in Phoenix.

More Than 500,000 People Ask CenturyLink To Help End Robocalls

Even though the FCC has said that landline operators can offer robocall-blocking technology to their customers, many of them have so far chosen to not do so. That’s why our colleagues at Consumers Union hand-delivered a petition with more than 500,000 signatures to CenturyLink this morning, hoping to drive home how fed-up consumers are with these unwanted interruptions. [More]

(Louis Abate)

Amazon Sends Me Someone Else’s Order. Why Don’t They Care If I Send It Back?

In the midst of all the shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Wet and Wild Wednesday, Thanksgiving 2.0 For People Who Were Out Of Town Or In The Hospital Last Week Thursday, and Black Friday All Over Again Because Why Not?, there are oodles of Amazon packages landing on shoppers’ doorsteps. In some rare cases, those packages might end up on the wrong doorstep, so why does Amazon not seem terribly concerned about getting those items back? [More]

Google Accused Of Snooping On Students’ Internet Activity

Google Accused Of Snooping On Students’ Internet Activity

Google is one of more than 200 companies that have signed on to the “Student Privacy Pledge,” in which it promises to, among other things, “Not collect, maintain, use or share student personal information beyond that needed for authorized educational/school purposes.” But a new complaint accuses the Internet biggie of breaking its oath and spying on kids’ online activity. [More]

Car Dealers Can’t Scream “Zero Down On All Leases” If Most Buyers Won’t Qualify For Deal

Car Dealers Can’t Scream “Zero Down On All Leases” If Most Buyers Won’t Qualify For Deal

Car dealers are known for hyperbolic slogans like “Everybody rides!” or “Nobody walks away from our lot!,” but that sort of puffery is a far cry from repeatedly claiming that the advertised lease price includes “Zip, Zero, Zilch — Nothing Down!” only to hide the ugly truth in fine print that most people won’t understand. [More]