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FTC Acts to Stop Deceptive COVID-19 Advertising Claims by California’s Precision Patient Outcomes, Inc.
The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against data broker Kochava Inc. for selling geolocation data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices that can be used to trace the movements of individuals to and from sensitive locations. Kochava’s data can reveal people’s visits to reproductive health clinics, places of worship, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and addiction recovery facilities. The FTC alleges that by selling data tracking people, Kochava is enabling others to identify individuals and exposing them to threats of stigma, stalking, discrimination, job loss, and even physical violence. The FTC’s lawsuit seeks to halt Kochava’s sale of sensitive geolocation data and require the company to delete the sensitive geolocation information it has collected.
Federal Trade Commission Returning Almost $21,000 to Consumers Nationwide Who Bought Deceptively Marketed CBD Products from Kushly Industries
The Federal Trade Commission referred a complaint to the Department of Justice alleging that Adam J. Harmon and two companies he controls falsely told consumers that personal protective equipment they marketed during the pandemic, as well as light fixtures they sold, were made in the United States. The complaint alleged that Harmon and ALG made numerous false and misleading claims that their PPE products were all or virtually all made in the United States, even though the products were wholly imported, or incorporated significant imported materials or subcomponents. The defendants also falsely stated that their products were U.S.-origin respirators, certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH). Under the proposed order, Harmon and his companies must: stop making deceptive U.S.-origin labeling and advertising claims, provide substantiation for all Made in USA and COVID-19-related claims, and pay a $157.683.37 civil penalty.
The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against healthcare company Benefytt Technologies, two subsidiaries, former CEO Gavin Southwell, and former vice president of sales Amy Brady, for lying to consumers about their sham health insurance plans and using deceptive lead generation websites to lure them in. According to the FTC complaint, Benefytt also illegally charged people exorbitant junk fees for unwanted add-on products without their permission. The proposed court orders require Benefytt to pay $100 million in refunds and prohibit the company from lying about their products or charging illegal junk fees. Southwell and Brady will be permanently banned from selling or marketing any healthcare-related product, and Brady will also be banned from telemarketing.
Federal Trade Commission Scores Two Victories in Separate Actions Against Companies Who Failed to Deliver COVID Personal Protection Equipment During Early Days of the Pandemic
In September 2019, the operators of a deceptive negative option scheme agreed to a court-ordered preliminary injunction temporarily barring them from a wide range of conduct. The preliminary injunction stops the defendants from misleading consumers about supposedly “free trial” offers, enrolling them in unwanted continuity plans, billing them without their authorization, and making it nearly impossible for them to cancel or get their money back. In June 2022, the Commission announced it was returning $5.4 million to defrauded consumers.
Statement of Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter Regarding the Policy Statement of the Federal Trade Commission on Rebates and Fees in Exchange for Excluding Lower-Cost Drug Products
Statement of Commissioner Alvaro M. Bedoya Regarding the Commission's Policy Statement on Rebates and Fees in Exchange for Excluding Lower-Cost Drug Products
Federal Court Rules in Favor of FTC, Halting Illegal Tactics Used to Promote Smoking Cessation, Weight-Loss, and Sexual-Performance Aids
The FTC’s October 2018 complaint against Redwood Scientific charged the defendants with a scheme that used illegal robocalls to deceptively market dissolvable oral film strips as effective smoking cessation, weight-loss, and sexual-performance aids. Announced in June 2019 as part of a crackdown on illegal robocalls against operations around the country responsible for more than one billion calls, an initial settlement resolved the FTC’s charges against one defendant in the Redwood Scientific case, Danielle Cadiz. The order permanently banned Cadiz from all robocall activities, including ringless voicemails, and imposes a judgment of $18.2 million against Cadiz. In March 2022, the FTC announced the final court orders against all remaining defendants.
FTC, DOJ, and FDA Take Action to Stop Marketer of Herbal Tea from Making False COVID-19 Treatment Claims
The Federal Trade Commission is returning more than $930,000 to consumers who bought tea products that Teami marketed and sold using allegedly deceptive health claims.
The FTC sued Teami, LLC and its owners in March 2020, charging that the company made bogus health claims and paid for endorsements from well-known social media influencers who did not adequately disclose that they were being paid to promote the defendant’s products. Teami claimed without reliable scientific evidence that their Teami 30 Day Detox Pack would help consumers lose weight, and that its other teas would fight cancer, clear clogged arteries, decrease migraines, treat and prevent flus, and treat colds.
FTC Outlines Aggressive Approach to Policing Against Pandemic Predators in Testimony Before Senate Commerce Subcommittee
FTC Staff Comment to the Food and Drug Administration in Docket No. FDA-2021-N-0555 Concerning Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
In January 2022, New York City-based Vision Path, Inc., the online seller of direct-to-consumer Hubble lenses, agreed pay penalties and redress totaling $3.5 million to settle FTC charges that it violated the Contact Lens Rule in several ways, including by failing to obtain prescriptions and to properly verify prescription information, and by substituting Hubble lenses for those actually prescribed to consumers. The FTC also alleged the company violated the FTC Act when it failed to disclose that many reviews of Hubble lenses were not by unbiased consumers but were written by reviewers who were compensated for their reviews, and, in at least one instance, by one of its own executives.
FTC Sends Full Refunds Totaling Over $2 Million to Consumers who Lost Money Through Deceptive Direct Mail Publications Scheme
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