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Legal Library: Cases and Proceedings
Every year the FTC brings hundreds of cases against individuals and companies for violating consumer protection and competition laws that the agency enforces. These cases can involve fraud, scams, identity theft, false advertising, privacy violations, anti-competitive behavior and more. The Legal Library has detailed information about cases we have brought in federal court or through our internal administrative process, called an adjudicative proceeding.
The FTC charged Ring with compromising its customers’ privacy by allowing any employee or contractor to access consumers’ private videos and by failing to implement basic privacy and security protections, enabling hackers to take control of consumers’ accounts, cameras, and videos.
The FTC will require Amazon to overhaul its deletion practices and implement stringent privacy safeguards to settle charges the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule) and deceived parents and users of the Alexa voice assistant service about its data deletion practices.
The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against Intuit Inc., the maker of the popular TurboTax tax filing software, by issuing an administrative complaint against the company for deceiving consumers with bogus advertisements pitching “free” tax filing that millions of consumers could not use. In addition, to prevent ongoing harm to consumers rushing to file their taxes, the Commission also filed a federal district court complaint asking a court to order Intuit to halt its deceptive advertising immediately.
The FTC obtained an order against education technology provider Edmodo for collecting personal data from children without obtaining their parent’s consent and using that data for advertising, in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule), and for unlawfully outsourcing its COPPA compliance responsibilities to schools.
In a case first filed in January 2020, the FTC alleged that Success By Health and its executives James “Jay” Dwight Noland, Jr., Lina Noland, Scott A. Harris, and Thomas G. Sacca were operating an “instant coffee” pyramid scheme that used false promises of wealth and income to entice thousands of consumers to join.
The amended complaint alleges that the defendants were operating an additional pyramid scheme known as VOZ Travel. According to the amended complaint, the defendants sold consumers VOZ Travel “memberships” for at least $1,000 each. In exchange, they allegedly promised consumers access to a discount travel booking platform and the ability to earn rewards for recruiting other consumers to buy memberships. The complaint alleges that the defendants told consumers that some VOZ Travel members would be “making $1.53 [million] per year.”
A federal court granted the Federal Trade Commission’s request to temporarily shut down an alleged pyramid scheme known as “Success By Health,” and to freeze the assets of the company and its executives.
In May 2023, a federal court sided with the Federal Trade Commission, ruling that James D. Noland, Jr. illegally owned and operated two pyramid schemes—Success By Health (SBH) and VOZ Travel—in violation of the FTC Act and that Noland violated a previous federal court order barring him from pyramid schemes and from misrepresenting multilevel marketing participants’ income potential.
Online fashion retailer Fashion Nova, LLC is prohibited from suppressing customer reviews of its products and required to pay $4.2 million to settle FTC allegations that the company blocked negative reviews of its products from being posted to its website
The FTC reached a settlement with the developer of the fertility app Premom over allegations it deceived users by sharing their sensitive personal information with third parties, including two China-based firms, disclosed users’ sensitive health data to AppsFlyer and Google, and failed to notify consumers of these unauthorized disclosures in violation of the Health Breach Notification Rule (HBNR).
The FTC sued to stop a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, XCast Labs, Inc., that continued to funnel hundreds of millions of illegal robocalls through its network, even after receiving multiple warnings.
The Federal Trade Commission has stopped a pair of student loan debt relief schemes that it says bilked students out of approximately $12 million by using deceptive claims about repayment programs and loan forgiveness that did not exist. The agency alsosays the companies falsely claimed to be or be affiliated with the Department of Education and told students that the illegal payments the companies collected would count towards their loans.
After the FTC filed complaints seeking to end the deceptive practices, a federal court temporarily halted the two schemes and froze their assets.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint alleging that Altria Group, Inc. and JUUL Labs, Inc. entered a series of agreements, including Altria’s acquisition of a 35% stake in JUUL, that eliminated competition in violation of federal antitrust laws. According to the complaint, this series of agreements involved Altria ceasing to compete in the U.S. market for closed-system electronic cigarettes in return for a substantial ownership interest in JUUL, by far the dominant player in that market. In an initial decision announced on Feb. 24, 2022, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell dismissed the antitrust charges in the complaint.
As a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, the operators of an alleged credit card debt relief scheme based in Tennessee have agreed to court orders that would permanently ban them from telemarketing and selling debt relief products or services.
Sean Austin, John Steven Huffman, John Preston Thompson, and their affiliated companies were charged by the FTC in November 2022 with taking tens of millions of dollars from people by falsely promising to eliminate or substantially reduce their credit card debt. At the time, a federal court agreed to the FTC’s request to temporarily freeze the defendants’ assets and appoint a receiver over the businesses while the case took place.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, entered the final orders on April 28, 2023.
In May 2020, the FTC sued the operators of a Pennsylvania-based telemarketing scheme, alleging that they charged organizations such as businesses, schools, fire and police departments, and non-profits for books and newsletter subscriptions they never ordered. The agency’s complaint also names the defendants behind a New York-based debt collection operation, alleging that they illegally threatened the organizations if they failed to pay for the unordered merchandise.
In April 2023, International Credit Recovery, Inc. (ICR), officer Richard Diorio, Jr., and manager Cynthia Powell, have agreed to a permanent ban from the debt collection industry after being charged with engaging in bogus debt collection efforts against businesses and non-profits.