ftc

FTC Settlement Permanently Halts Alleged Energy Drink-Slinging Pyramid Scheme

FTC Settlement Permanently Halts Alleged Energy Drink-Slinging Pyramid Scheme

A year ago, a court agreed to put a temporary halt to an alleged pyramid scheme that made its money by convincing college students they could make big bucks shilling energy drinks — but only paying up for recruiting more sales friends instead. Today, the FTC has announced a settlement with the Vemma Nutrition Company that puts a halt to those practices for good. [More]

DeVry University Must Pay $100 Million To Former Students For Misleading Ads

DeVry University Must Pay $100 Million To Former Students For Misleading Ads

At the beginning of the year, the Federal Trade Commission sued popular for-profit college DeVry University, claiming the school’s advertising misled would-be students about how likely a DeVry degree is to get them a job. And now to ring out the year, the school and the Commission have reached a $100 million settlement that sends all that money right back into students’ pockets. [More]

Ashley Madison’s Penalty For Exposing Details On 36 Million Users? About $.04 Per Person

Ashley Madison’s Penalty For Exposing Details On 36 Million Users? About $.04 Per Person

In 2015, a major data breach at AshleyMadison.com — the dating site targeted at cheaters — exposed information for some 36 million accounts. The company has now entered into a deal that settles federal and state charges that Ashley Madison: misled users about data security and failed to protect user information; charged users to delete profiles (but didn’t); and used fake profiles to lure in customers. While the settlement has a price tag of $8.75 million, Ashley Madison will actually pay significantly less than that. [More]

Pressing Your Phone Camera Against Your Finger Will Not Measure Your Blood Pressure

Pressing Your Phone Camera Against Your Finger Will Not Measure Your Blood Pressure

The tiny sensors in our smartphones can do amazing things, but what they cannot do is substitute for a blood pressure cuff. That’s unfortunate, because having your blood pressure measured can be painful and unpleasant. However, one app-maker ran afoul of federal regulators by claiming that your smartphone camera could be used to accurately check your vitals. [More]

TroyMarcyPhotography.com

Don’t Fall For The ‘Missed Delivery Notice’ Email Scam This Holiday Season

If you’re like everyone else you know, you’ve probably been doing — or plan to do — a bit of online holiday shopping this year. Missing a delivery could put a serious kink in your day, but don’t let that fear draw you into a scammer’s net. [More]

Mike Mozart

$88M In Refunds From AT&T Settlement With FTC Now Heading To Consumers

A few million current and former AT&T wireless customers can look forward to a bit of a well-timed holiday surprise this year: money! AT&T promised to refund customers at least $80 million as part of a settlement it reached with the FTC over unlawful wireless bill charges, and the Commission announced those checks started going into the mail today. [More]

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

If you’ve used Instagram, you’re almost certainly familiar with apparently real people touting tummy-flattening tea, an array of subscription boxes, the benefits of some multilevel marketing scheme, or the latest in fashion, beauty, and electronics. If these people are being paid to shill these products, then they have to clearly be flagged as ads. Though the Federal Trade Commission has pledged to get serious about going after advertisers who taint your Instagram feed with these stealth ads, some consumer advocates say the FTC simply isn’t doing enough. [More]

Homeopathic Treatments To Be Held To Same Standards As Other Health Products

Homeopathic Treatments To Be Held To Same Standards As Other Health Products

Homeopathic medicine is a billion-dollar business, with some of the biggest names in retail selling treatments that contain few — or no — active ingredients, like the CVS brand “Homeopathic Constipation Relief” that is nothing more than a 40-proof mixture of alcohol and water. In spite of the lack of actual medication or supporting evidence, some products still make claims that they can actually treat ailments or relieve pain. Now the federal government is confirming that homeopathic items will be held to the same standards as other products on drugstore shelves. [More]

Amazon Must Issue Refunds, Not Gift Cards, To Parents Unfairly Billed For Kids’ In-App Purchases

Amazon Must Issue Refunds, Not Gift Cards, To Parents Unfairly Billed For Kids’ In-App Purchases

Back in April, a federal court ruled that Amazon had not done enough to alert Kindle Fire owners — and users of Amazon’s Android appstore — that “Free” apps could still allow kids to make costly in-app transactions, but the ruling left unresolved exactly how much Amazon would need to pay to make customers whole again. Yesterday, the judge in the case determined that wronged Amazon customers must need to actively claim their refund, and that Amazon could not pay the refund in site credit or gift cards. [More]

Feds Accuse NetSpend Of Misleading Customers About Prepaid Debit Cards

Feds Accuse NetSpend Of Misleading Customers About Prepaid Debit Cards

NetSpend, one of the nation’s largest providers of prepaid debit cards, has been accused of violating federal law for allegedly misleading users into believing that funds loaded onto these cards will be available immediately, while some users say they had to wait weeks or were never able to access their funds. [More]

Mike Mozart

Generic Drug Companies Could Soon Face Criminal Price-Collusion Charges

The pharmaceuticals industry has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years for soaring prices, though much of the attention has focused on name-brand drugs with no or minimal competition. However, multiple news reports now claim that some generic drug companies could soon face federal criminal charges over allegations that they colluded on price. [More]

Maker Of Krylex, Hammer-Tite, Kwix Fix Glues Stops Claiming Products “Made in USA”

Maker Of Krylex, Hammer-Tite, Kwix Fix Glues Stops Claiming Products “Made in USA”

Anyone can claim that their product is “Made in the U.S.A.,” but unless that product is actually manufactured in America from materials made in America, you might be breaking the law. Eight months after being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for claiming its glues are “proudly made in the U.S.A.” even though the products were made using foreign-sourced chemicals, the manufacturer has agreed to stop this faux patriotic boasting. [More]

jetsetpress

If FTC Can’t Resurrect Lawsuit Over AT&T’s “Unlimited” Data, Telecoms May Be Even More Untouchable

In August, an appeals court threw out the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against AT&T over the way it marketed its “unlimited” data plans (which were anything but unlimited). Now the FTC is taking its case up the legal ladder, making the case that if it’s not allowed to sue AT&T, then all phone and internet providers can more easily get away with deceptive business practices. [More]

Feds Shut Down Scam That Used Pop-Up Alerts To Scare People Into Thinking Computers Were Hacked

Feds Shut Down Scam That Used Pop-Up Alerts To Scare People Into Thinking Computers Were Hacked

If you’ve ever browsed some of the internet’s seedier nooks and crannies, you might be familiar with a particular type of scam: The pop-up warning (usually accompanied by a loud, alarm-like sound) telling you that your computer has been compromised and you must call tech support immediately. To people who know better, it’s a minor nuisance but to people who aren’t as scam-savvy, it’s a ruse that brings in millions of dollars to jerks around the world, including a Missouri-based operation that has been shut down by the Federal Trade Commission. [More]

Doctor Who Endorsed Sketchy Joint Pain Supplement Failed To Mention She Was Married To Company’s Owner

Doctor Who Endorsed Sketchy Joint Pain Supplement Failed To Mention She Was Married To Company’s Owner

When you turn on the TV and there are one of those infomercials that pretend to be a talk show, you’re probably justified in questioning the bona fides of anyone endorsing the product being sold. Case in point: A joint pain supplement that not only made unsubstantiated claims about being able to treat medical conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, but which failed to mention that the doctor endorsing the supplement also just happened to be married to the company’s owner. [More]

Library of Congress

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

“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]

oracorac

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]