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.
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.
In 2019, following a public comment period, the FTC has approved a modified final order requiring industrial gas suppliers Praxair, Inc. and Linde AG to sell assets in nine industrial gases product markets in numerous U.S. geographic markets to four divestiture buyers. The nine product markets in which the Commission alleged harm in its October 2018 complaint are bulk liquid oxygen, bulk liquid nitrogen, bulk liquid argon, bulk liquid carbon dioxide, bulk liquid hydrogen, bulk refined helium, on-site hydrogen, on-site carbon monoxide, and excimer laser gases. In November 2022, the FTC announced the approval of a petition to modify the final order in this case.
Statement of Chair Lina M. Khan Regarding the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Business Opportunity Rule Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against DK Automation and its owners, Kevin David Hulse and David Shawn Arnett for using unfounded claims of big returns to entice consumers into moneymaking schemes involving Amazon business packages, business coaching, and cryptocurrency. The FTC’s complaint alleges that the defendants promised consumers that they could “generate passive income on autopilot” when the truth was that few consumers ever made money from these schemes.
A proposed court order would require the defendants to turn over $2.6 million to be used to refund consumers harmed by their deception, as well as requiring them to stop their deceptive earnings pitches and follow the law.
Concurring Statement of Commissioner Wilson Regarding the Effective Date of Certain Provisions of the Recently Amended Safeguards Rule
Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Christine S. Wilson Regarding the “Policy Statement Regarding the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act”
Statement of Chair Lina M. Khan, Joined by Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Commissioner Alvaro M. Bedoya, On the Adoption of the Statement of Enforcement Policy Regarding Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the FTC Act
Statement of Commissioner Alvaro M. Bedoya, Joined by Chair Lina M. Khan and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, on the Adoption of the Statement of Enforcement Policy Regarding Unfair Methods of Competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act
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.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint and authorized a federal court lawsuit to block Illumina’s $7.1 billion proposed acquisition of Grail—a maker of a non-invasive, early detection liquid biopsy test that can screen for multiple types of cancer in asymptomatic patients at very early stages using DNA sequencing. Illumina is the only provider of DNA sequencing that is a viable option for these multi-cancer early detection, or MCED, tests in the United States.
The complaint alleges the proposed acquisition will diminish innovation in the U.S. market for MCED tests, which could be used to detect up to 50 types of cancer. Most of these types of cancer are not screened for at all today, and the MCED test could save millions of lives around the world. The trial began on Aug. 24, 2021. On May 20, 2021, the FTC authorized staff to dismiss its federal court complaint for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.
In November 2022, the FTC announced it stopped internet phone service provider Vonage from taking consumers’ money without their consent and creating obstacles to those who try to cancel their service. Under a proposed court order agreed to by Vonage, the company will be required to pay $100 million to refund consumers harmed by its actions, make its cancellation process simple and transparent, and stop charging consumers without their consent.
The FTC taking action against education technology provider Chegg Inc. for its lax data security practices that exposed sensitive information about millions of its customers and employees, including Social Security numbers, email addresses and passwords.
The Federal Trade Commission and State of California are taking action against home improvement financing provider Ygrene Energy Fund Inc. for deceiving consumers about the potential financial impact of its financing, and for unfairly recording liens on consumers’ homes without their consent. The FTC and California allege that Ygrene and its contractors falsely told consumers that the financing wouldn’t interfere with the sale or refinancing of their homes, in many instances relying on high-pressure sales tactics or outright forgery to sign consumers up.
A proposed court order would require Ygrene to stop its deceptive practices and meaningfully oversee the contractors who have served as its salesforce. As part of the settlement, Ygrene will be required to dedicate $3 million to provide relief to certain consumers whose homes are subject to the company’s liens.
The Federal Trade Commission sued Electrowarmth Products, LLC and its owner, Daniel W. Grindle, alleging that they falsely claimed the heated fabric mattress pads they sell for truck bunks were made in the USA. The FTC charged Grindle and Electrowarmth with violating the Textile Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. According to the complaint, Grindle and Electrowarmth violated these acts by labeling and advertising the origin of the textiles used in their products as the United States, when these textile fiber products were wholly imported from China. The proposed order prohibits Grindle and Electrowarmth from making any country-of-origin claim about a product or service unless the claim is not misleading and they have a reasonable basis that substantiates their claim. It also requires Grindle and Electrowarmth to make certain disclosures about the country of origin of any product subject to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, and to provide compliance reports. The FTC announced approval of the final order in October 2022.