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]
The opinion issued today by U.S. District Court judge Emmet Sullivan doesn’t actually say that the country’s biggest office supply chain, Staples, can’t acquire the #2 office supply chain, Office Depot. As the Federal Trade Commission requested, the judge granted a preliminary injunction stopping the merger. That prevents the companies from merging until the FTC is done with their administrative antitrust case, but representatives of the two companies previously said that they would break the engagement if the FTC prevailed. [More]
After nearly six years of legal wrangling over allegations of false advertising, the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate beverages ran into a dead end this morning when the nation’s highest court refused to hear the company’s appeal. [More]
Venmo is a PayPal-owned money-transfer service that allows users to send payments to each other over the internet. Yesterday, PayPal revealed that Venmo is currently under investigation by federal regulators. [More]
There’s a time-tested rule that if someone gives a child an easy way to unwittingly spend your money, you will soon be looking at a thick bill containing a large number of tiny purchases. Today, a federal court ruled that Amazon failed to do 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. [More]
When the FCC voted in February to consider new rules for your cable box, that kicked off a multi-month cycle of public comments, where anyone and everyone can have their say. The deadline for the first round struck at midnight Friday, which means most of the comments are just rolling onto the internet for all and sundry to have a look at.
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]
As we’ve shown before, wireless and landline phone companies can do something to provide customers with free and easy-to-use tools to block unwanted automated calls — they just aren’t doing it, even when hundreds of thousands of consumers explicitly ask them to. A new piece of legislation introduced today hopes to compel the telecom providers to finally make it easier for customers to just say no to robocalls. [More]
Generally, you don’t visit your doctor and then buy the medicine that she prescribes right from her office. Contact lenses are different: you generally order those directly from your doctor’s office, and you often order glasses from the same place too. Yet you don’t actually have to: you have the right to actually buy your glasses or contacts anywhere that you want, whether it’s for a better price or because you really like Warby Parker frames. [More]
When a drug patent nears its end, drug companies sometimes do really stupid, potentially illegal things to delay or prevent their bottom line being dinged by a lower-cost generic version. One drug company is accused of not just paying off a generic drug maker to delay the release of its version of two medications, but further hurting consumers by agreeing to not compete with the generic. [More]
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.
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]
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’
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]
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]
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.
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]