FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 7 - Number 1
IN THIS ISSUE
BEHAVIORAL ADVERTISING. The FTC has proposed several principles to guide the development of self-regulation in behavioral advertising --- the tracking of consumers’ activities online to deliver advertising targeted to their particular interests. The principles propose that companies that collect data for this purpose give consumers clear and prominent notice that they are doing so and the ability to choose to whether to have their information collected for this purpose. The principles also recommend reasonable security measures for the data and limited retention of the data. Comments and discussion to develop the principles further are encouraged. Email comments to BehavioralMarketingPrinciples@ftc.gov.
The proposed principles were released in conjunction with the FTC's announcement that it would not seek to block Google Inc.'s proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of Internet advertising server DoubleClick Inc. After examining the evidence during the merger review process, the FTC concluded that the proposed deal is unlikely to substantially lessen competition, and that any privacy concerns were not unique to these two companies. The FTC issued the proposed behavioral marketing principles because of the importance of consumer privacy issues. Proposed principles press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/12/principles.shtm. Google/Double Click press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/12/googledc.shtm.
NO WAY TO PAY FOR DELAY. The FTC settled charges against Barr Laboratories for conspiring not to introduce its generic version of Warner Chilcott’s Ovcon birth control pills. According to the FTC, Warner Chilcott agreed to pay $20 million if Barr would delay sales of its generic version of Warner Chilcott’s branded birth control pill until May, 2009. Last year, Warner Chilcott abandoned the ‘pay for delay’ agreement under threat of FTC action, and Barr began selling its generic formulation at a much lower cost. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/11/barr.shtm.
PROBLEM POP-UP ADS. The FTC has settled its charges against an operation that foisted sexually explicit online pop-up ads on unwitting consumers in violation of federal law. According to the FTC, AdultFriendFinder.com and its affiliates used pop-up ads that exposed consumers, including children, to sexually explicit images when they used search terms such as "flowers," "travel," and "vacations." The settlement bars the defendant from displaying sexually explicit ads to consumers unless the consumers are seeking --- or have agreed to view --- sexually explicit content. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/12/afriendfinder.shtm.
BROKER THE DEAL. The FTC charged Multiple Listing Service, Inc., a group of real estate professionals based in Milwaukee, with blocking the access of certain brokers to popular websites. According to the FTC, the MLS rules withheld valuable benefits from brokers who did not use traditional listing contracts and who offered limited services at a lower cost to home sellers. This case follows similar FTC actions last year against other MLS groups. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/12/mls.shtm.
GONE PHISHING. The FTC has issued a report on its July 2007 spam summit and offered suggestions for follow up. Workshop panelists confirmed that spam increasingly has become a significant global vector for the dissemination of malware, phishing, and the propagation of financial crimes.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/12/spam.shtm.
NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK. Mark your calendars: the 10th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), a time to highlight consumer protection and education efforts across the country, will take place from March 2 to March 8, 2008. This year’s theme, "Financial Literacy: A Sound Investment" encourages consumers to take steps to build a firm financial foundation. During NCPW, federal, state, and local government agencies and national advocacy organizations committed to consumer protection will seek to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and financial literacy. An outreach tool kit and other free resources will be available to help community organizations empower consumers with information on how to manage their money, use credit wisely, and avoid scams and rip-offs. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/12/ncw.shtm.
USTED DETERMINA QUIÉN LLAMA: LA NUEVA REGULACIÓN DE VENTAS DE TELEMERCADEO DE LA FTC. (You Make the Call: The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule.) Explains how the National Do Not Call Registry makes it easier and more efficient for consumers to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing sales calls they get, and how to register their phone numbers. 8.5"x11", 4 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/stel13.shtm.
LOS PAGOS DE SU HIPOTECA LO ESTÁN HACIENDO TAMBALEAR? ESTO ES LO QUE USTED PUEDE HACER (Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here's What to Do). Explains how consumers who may be having trouble paying their mortgage can help save their homes, and recognize and avoid foreclosure scams. 8.5"x11", 4 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/srea04.shtm.
If your lender files for bankruptcy after your loan closes, continue to make your payments to the mortgage servicers by the date they’re due.
If your mortgage servicer files for bankruptcy or goes out of business, it’s very likely that your loan will be transferred to another financial institution for servicing. How will you know? Read your mail and email — and pay attention to phone calls and messages that deal with a change of lender, a late payment, or a payment that wasn’t received. To avoid a scam, review the notices and call to confirm the new loan servicer before you send a payment.
If your loan is transferred to another servicer, you should get two notices — one from your current servicer and one from your new one.
- If your lender files for bankruptcy after your loan closes, continue to make your payments to the mortgage servicers by the date they’re due.
- If your mortgage servicer files for bankruptcy or goes out of business, it’s very likely that your loan will be transferred to another financial institution for servicing. How will you know? Read your mail and email — and pay attention to phone calls and messages that deal with a change of lender, a late payment, or a payment that wasn’t received. To avoid a scam, review the notices and call to confirm the new loan servicer before you send a payment.
- If your loan is transferred to another servicer, you should get two notices — one from your current servicer and one from your new one.
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