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FTC Order Requires HomeAdvisor to Pay Up To $7.2 Million and Stop Deceptively Marketing its Leads for Home Improvement Projects
Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Extension (Regulation O)
The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, and the Wisconsin Attorney General, filed suit against Consumer Law Protection and related companies, along with their owners and operators, Christopher Carroll, George Reed, Louann Reed, Scott Jackson, and Eduardo Balderas for scamming consumers—mostly older adults—out of more than $90 million in a massive timeshare exit scam.
FTC, California Act to Stop Ygrene Energy Fund from Deceiving Consumers About PACE Financing, Placing Liens on Homes Without Consumers’ Consent
Opendoor Labs Inc. promised to revolutionize home selling by offering to buy consumers homes for market value while reducing transaction costs. It promised to provide speed and certainty to home sellers while saving them thousands compared to selling on the market or selling traditionally, as the company describes such sales. Although Opendoor generally delivered on its promises to provide a faster and more certain transaction, it did not save consumers money. In fact, consumers who sold to Opendoor typically lost thousands compared to what they would have made on the market. Contrary to the company's marketing, it made submarket offers and had associated costs higher than in traditional sales. The company's marketing and the opacity of the transaction, however, left consumers unaware that they had lost money. The Commission approved a final order in this matter in October 2022.
FTC Approves Final Order Prohibiting Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board from Fixing Prices for Appraisal Services in Louisiana
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, alleging that the group is unreasonably restraining price competition for appraisal services in Louisiana, contrary to federal antitrust law. The complaint alleged that the appraisal board’s regulations exceeded the scope of the mandate outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act that required appraisal management companies to pay “a rate that is customary and reasonable for appraisal services performed in the market area of the property being appraised.” Specifically, the board required appraisal fees to equal or exceed the median fees identified in survey reports commissioned and published by the board. The board then investigated and sanctioned companies that paid fees below the specified levels.
Shortly before the administrative trial was set to begin, the FTC and the board reached a proposed settlement agreement.
On April 5, 2022, the Commission announced the final consent agreement in this matter.
Operators of Investment Coaching Scheme Banned from Industry and Ordered to Pay Millions in Redress to Defrauded Consumers
The operators of a massive real estate investment coaching scheme face permanent bans and will pay approximately $12 million for consumer redress as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection (UDCP).
The FTC and UDCP alleged that Zurixx, LLC, its owners Cristopher Cannon, James Carlson, and Jeffrey Spangler, and a number of associated companies operated a real estate investment coaching scheme that sold live seminars and telephone coaching using false earnings claims that convinced tens of thousands of consumers to pay them thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Ascension will be required to implement a comprehensive data security program as part of a settlement resolving FTC allegations that the firm failed to ensure one of its vendors was adequately securing personal data about tens of thousands of mortgage holders.
Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Agrees to Settle FTC Charges that It Fixed Prices for Appraisal Services in Louisiana
FTC Acts to Stop Nevada Companies From Charging Consumers Thousands To Open Credit Cards To Pay For Training Schemes
At FTC’s Request, Court Finalizes Orders and Monetary Judgments against Ringleaders of the Sanctuary Belize Real Estate Investment Scheme
In November 2018, the FTC announced that a federal district court in Maryland issued an order temporarily shutting down the largest overseas real estate investment scam the FTC has ever targeted. According to the FTC, the scam was established by Andris Pukke, a recidivist scammer currently living in California, and he perpetuated it even while serving a prison sentence for obstruction of justice. The alleged scheme took in more than $100 million, marketing lots in what supposedly would become a luxury development in Central America known by several names, including Sanctuary Belize, Sanctuary Bay, and The Reserve. In late August 2020, a district court ruled in the FTC’s favor, and BCP Director Andrew Smith issued a public statement on the memorandum opinion.
In January 2021, a federal district court entered final orders against the three primary individual defendants—Andris Pukke, Peter Baker, and Luke Chadwick, and related corporations—in the FTC’s’s case involving the allegedly deceptive sale of real estate properties in Belize to U.S. consumers. The orders finalize a September 2020 memorandum opinion requiring Pukke and Baker jointly to pay $120.2 million to the Commission with Chadwick also jointly responsible for $91.9 million of that amount.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint and authorized a suit in federal court to block internet listing services provider CoStar Group Inc.’s proposed $587.5 million acquisition of competitor RentPath Holdings, Inc. The complaint alleged that the acquisition would significantly increase concentration in the already highly concentrated markets for internet listing services advertising for large apartment complexes in 49 individual metropolitan areas across the United States. On Dec. 31, 2020, the FTC issued a statement on the parties’ announcement that they had abandoned the acquisition.
Statement of Daniel Francis, Deputy Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Regarding the Announcement That the Parties Have Abandoned CoStar Group Inc.’s Acquisition of RentPath Holdings, Inc.
Ten Individual and Corporate Defendants Settle FTC Charges that They Participated in, Controlled, or Benefitted from the Sanctuary Belize Real Estate Scam
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