FTC Bans Wire Transfers, Reloadable Cash Cards, And Payment Orders In Phone Transactions

FTC Bans Wire Transfers, Reloadable Cash Cards, And Payment Orders In Phone Transactions

We’ve shared warnings about many different types of telemarketing scams, but they all have one thing in common: they extract money from their victims using quick and untraceable methods like wire transfers or prepaid debit cards. Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced an amendment to current telemarketing rules that’s meant to protect consumers from fraud over the phone lines. [More]

Criminal charges have been filed against USP Labs -- the maker of Jack3d -- and several of its principals by federal prosecutors.

Feds File Criminal, Civil Cases Against More Than 100 Supplement Companies

A sweeping multi-agency federal investigation has resulted in a slew of criminal and civil charges being brought against more than 100 companies that either make or market supposed dietary supplements for selling products that allegedly contain ingredients other than those listed on the label, or products that make unsubstantiated health or disease-treatment claims. [More]

(Paul)

Feds Shut Down Phony Apple, Microsoft, Google Tech Support Scammers

While consumers are much more tech-savvy today than we were during the days of Windows 3.1 and baud modems, there are still a lot of people whose tech-insecurity makes them potential prey for bogus tech support businesses that make money by convincing victims their computers are infected with viruses. [More]

Sale Of Commercial Supply Business Could Let Staples-Office Depot Merger Go Through

Sale Of Commercial Supply Business Could Let Staples-Office Depot Merger Go Through

One of the barriers to the formation of the StaplesMaxDepot office-supply Voltron has been the commercial supply businesses that both companies run: in addition to running retail stores, they both also do business delivering office supplies to corporate clients. One possibility could let the mega-merger go forward: Staples could sell its commercial supply business to competitor Essendant. [More]

(Tara Chavez)

Scammers Who Defrauded Scam Victims Barred From Scamming Anyone Else

Imagine you’ve been a victim of that old “woke up in a bathtub with my kidney gone” urban legend. As you stumble out of the hotel in urgent need of medical care, you come across a helpful doctor who will tend to your wounds… only to wake up in another tub with another missing organ. Replace “unauthorized donation of precious, life-sustaining organs” with “telemarketing fraud” and you’ve got the basis for a scam that took in nearly $3 million from people who had already been the victims of fraud. [More]

Regulators Drop Probe Into Walmart’s “Made In The U.S.A.” Labeling After Designation Dropped From Website

Regulators Drop Probe Into Walmart’s “Made In The U.S.A.” Labeling After Designation Dropped From Website

Four months after an advertising watchdog group called out Walmart’s website for selling more than 100 products labeled as “Made in the U.S.A.” even though they were manufactured in other countries, raising the watchful eye of federal regulators, the retailer announced it had removed the designation from its products.  [More]

The makers of Doryx are currently being sued by a company that claims last-minute tweaks to the acne medication have delayed the availability of a generic equivalent.

How Drug Companies Use “Product Hopping” To Fight Off Affordable Generic Drugs

You’re probably used to the idea of your doctor prescribing you a brand-name drug and your pharmacist automatically substituting a lower-cost generic equivalent that saves you, the drugstore, and your insurer money. But there’s practice known in the industry as “product hopping” that brand-name drug makers can use to repeatedly delay generic versions from reaching consumers. [More]

Wyndham Hotels Loses Legal Battle With Feds Over Lax Security Practices

Wyndham Hotels Loses Legal Battle With Feds Over Lax Security Practices

If a consumer-facing company, like say a massive hotel chain, touts its dedication to the security of customer information and then does something to repeatedly put that information at risk — like storing unencrypted credit card data on barely secure networks — can they be forced to share some of the blame when hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers are stolen? The hotel chain says that would be blaming the victim, but a federal appeals court has affirmed the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to go after businesses that fail to live up to their security promises. [More]

Makers Of Ultraviolet “Disinfectant” Devices Penalized $1.3M For Making False Germ-Killing Claims

Makers Of Ultraviolet “Disinfectant” Devices Penalized $1.3M For Making False Germ-Killing Claims

A bit of advice to gadget-makers out there: If you’re going to claim that your ultraviolet light product can ” kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria in 10 seconds or less” or eradicate disease-spreading fungus and drug-resistant MRSA, then you should have the science to back these claims up. [More]

Until May 2015, Par's generic form of Kapvay (clonidine hydrochloride) was the only generic version available in the U.S., even though Concordia also had the rights to market a competing generic.

Drug Companies Agreed To Not Compete, Resulting In High Price For Generic Medication

Imagine that Bob and Mary are the only two kids in town allowed to sell lemonade. They could try to compete against each other, potentially resulting in lower prices, improved juice, or better service… or Mary could say to Bob, “How’s about you pay me some money so I don’t exercise my option to sell lemonade?” That means the price for lemonade is whatever Bob says it is, and he’s encouraged to keep it high because he’s paying some of that money out to Mary. Now imagine this isn’t about lemonade, but about prescription drugs. [More]

Why Don’t Huge Privacy Flaws Result In Recalled Smartphones?

吉姆 Jim Hofman

When a car has a major flaw, like a potentially lethal airbag, it gets recalled. Same for a coffeemaker, or a surfboard, or a prescription drug. But when that major flaw is in a product’s software — like a huge exploit that puts literally a billion consumers’ privacy and personal data at risk — there’s no universal process out there for remedying the situation. Do we need one? And if so, how can we get one? [More]

Don’t Expect An End To Sketchy Hotel Resort Fees Anytime Soon

Don’t Expect An End To Sketchy Hotel Resort Fees Anytime Soon

In 2012, it looked like the Federal Trade Commission might finally be cracking down on hotel “resort fees,” mandatory surcharges added above the listed price of some hotel rooms. At the time, the agency sent warnings to 22 different hotel operators warning them that they weren’t doing enough to disclose these fees, but no legal actions have been taken since, in spite of the fact that some popular tourist destinations are hiding their resort fees until the final payment screen. And judging by the FTC’s latest response to these concerns, you probably shouldn’t expect this to change in the near future. [More]

Buyers Of Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau’s Weight Loss Book May Finally Be Getting Refunds

Buyers Of Convicted Liar Kevin Trudeau’s Weight Loss Book May Finally Be Getting Refunds

Walmart Also Selling Mislabeled “Made In America” Products In Stores

Walmart Also Selling Mislabeled “Made In America” Products In Stores

Last week, an advertising watchdog group called out Walmart’s website for selling more than 100 products labeled as “Made in the U.S.A.” even though they were manufactured in other countries. Now comes a local news report showing that the confusing problem isn’t relegated to Walmart.com. [More]

Larry Smith

Should Hotels Be Required To Include Mandatory “Resort Fees” In Published Room Rates?

In order to minimize surprise when it comes time to pay, airlines in the U.S. now need to include all mandatory fees in their published airfares, but the same isn’t true for hotels. Many destinations now tack on so-called “resort fees” that claim to cover things like access to in-hotel gyms and pools, but which are mandatory for all guests whether you use those amenities or not. Even though these required add-on charges can significantly increase a guest’s total bill, hotels do not have to include the fee in their listed rates. [More]

Report Finds 100+ Walmart.com Products Labeled “Made In U.S.A.” That Were Made Elsewhere

Report Finds 100+ Walmart.com Products Labeled “Made In U.S.A.” That Were Made Elsewhere

While there is no official review process required for labeling a product as “Made in the U.S.A.,” a company can get into legal trouble for misusing that label, as doing so may constitute false advertising. A new report from an advertising watchdog group claims that Walmart’s website has more than 100 examples of products incorrectly marketed as made in America. [More]

Privacy Group’s FTC Complaint: Uber Shouldn’t Track Users When They’re Not Using The App

Privacy Group’s FTC Complaint: Uber Shouldn’t Track Users When They’re Not Using The App

A digital-privacy group has filed a complaint against Uber, saying the company’s new privacy policy says it could use a rider’s location information to track where they are even when the app is running in the background, and also takes issue with the company’s policy regarding collecting address book information. The Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C wants the FTC to investigate.

[More]

Steam Summer Sale Has Deep Video Game Discounts… And Pricing Shenanigans That Confuse Consumers

Steam Summer Sale Has Deep Video Game Discounts… And Pricing Shenanigans That Confuse Consumers

For 125 million gamers who prefer to play on their computers, Steam is the online retailer of choice, especially when it runs one of its huge seasonal sales. But while these promotions, like the current “Monster Summer Sale,” offer what appear to be deep discounts, Steam is also repeatedly accused of artificially inflating prices to make these savings look better than they are.

[More]