In April 2020, the marketers of three supplements called Neurocet, Regenify, and Resetigen-D settled FTC charges that they deceptively promoted their products to older Americans using false claims that their products could stop pain and treat age-related ailments. The proposed order bars the defendants—five related companies and their principals from making any claims about the health benefits of their products unless they are true and supported by scientific evidence. In October 2021, the FTC announced it was returning $1.1 million to consumer who bought the defendants’ products.
In some situations the FTC files a complaint under its administrative process instead of taking the case to a federal court. This is called an adjudicative proceeding. The party can decide to settle with us or they can contest the charges. If they contest the case it is heard before an administrative law judge in a trial-type proceeding. The Legal Library has information about cases brought by us before an administrative law judge.
The owner and operator of Inmate Magazine Service, a company that scammed prisoners and their families by charging them for magazine subscriptions that either showed up late or not at all, will be permanently banned from selling or marketing magazine subscriptions.
Under the terms of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Office of Attorney General, Roy Snowden, who owned and operated a number of businesses that operated as Inmate Magazine Service, will also be required to surrender the contents of multiple bank accounts.
The FTC and Florida’s complaint against Snowden and his companies alleged that they marketed magazine subscriptions to consumers serving prison sentences, as well as their families, offering to send the magazines to the prisoners while they were incarcerated and promising the magazines would arrive within 120 days.
In many cases, the magazines never arrived or were delivered far later than promised, with no notification to the consumers about delayed shipment or the chance to cancel their orders as required by the FTC’s Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. The complaint also alleged that consumers were almost never able to contact the company to request refunds or status updates on orders.
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block Lehigh Cement Company LLC’s $151 million acquisition of rival Pennsylvania-based cement producer Keystone Cement Company, alleging the deal would harm regional competition in the market for the key ingredient used to make concrete. The FTC alleges that the acquisition would harm competition in the market for gray portland cement in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, reducing the number of significant competitors from four to three. The administrative trial was scheduled to begin on Nov. 2, 2021, but on June 4, 2021, the FTC announced that the parties have abandoned the transaction.
The FTC's administrative complaint against Impax charges that in 2010, Impax and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. illegally agreed that Impax would not compete by marketing a generic version of Endo’s Opana ER until January 2013. In exchange, Endo paid Impax more than $112 million.
Endo agreed to settle these charges in a stipulated order entered in federal court. See FTC v. Allergan plc, and Watson Laboratories, Inc. et al.
The Commission’s 2019 opinion held that the FTC staff had proven that the agreement between Impax and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Commission’s opinion reversed Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell’s initial decision.
In April 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the Commission’s opinion.
In December 2019, the FTC announced The University of Phoenix and its parent company agreed to pay a record $191 million to resolve allegations that they used deceptive advertisements falsely touting their relationships and job opportunities with companies such as AT&T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and The American Red Cross. The settlement order requires UOP to pay $50 million in cash, as well as cancel $141 million in debts owed to the school by students harmed by the deceptive ads.
In March 2021, the FTC sent payments totaling nearly $50 million to more than 147,000 UOP students who may have been lured by allegedly deceptive advertisements.
The FTC alleged that this company and its operators collected more than $12 million from consumers through illegal debt collection practices. The FTC’s complaint alleges that the defendants used robocalls to leave deceptive messages claiming consumers faced imminent legal action about debts. When consumers returned the calls, the defendants falsely claimed to be from a mediation or law firm, again threatened legal action, and used consumers’ personal information to convince consumers the threats were real. The complaint alleges that, in many instances, consumers did not owe the debt being collected on or the defendants had no right to collect it.
Under the terms of a settlement, National Landmark Logistics, LLC; National Landmark Service of United Recovery, LLC; Silverlake Landmark Recovery Group, LLC; and Jean Cellent will be permanently banned from debt collection of any kind. They will also be banned from buying or selling debt, and from making any misrepresentations to consumers about any goods or services—including from claiming that they are lawyers or represent a law firm.
In addition, the defendants will be required to surrender the contents of numerous bank and investment accounts, as well as the title to property located in Philadelphia and a Mercedes SL 550 or the cash value of those assets.
The FTC alleged that this company and its operators collected more than $5.2 million from consumers through illegal debt collection practices. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the company used the defendants in the National Landmark Logistics case to place deceptive robocalls alleging that consumers owed debt and faced legal action if they did not reply. Once consumers called the defendants after receiving the message, the defendants often falsely claimed to be representing a law firm or threatened consumers with arrest if they did not immediately pay the debt.
Under the terms of their settlements, Lashone Elam (also known as Lashone Caldwell); Absolute Financial Services, LLC; Absolute Financial Services Recovery, LLC; AFSR Global Logistics, LLC; and Talesia Neely will be permanently banned from playing any role in debt collection.
They will also be prohibited from making certain misrepresentations to consumers, including whether a consumer owes them a payment, whether they are attorneys or associated with a law firm, or the terms of any refund program.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued an administrative complaint and authorized an action to block the proposed merger of Jefferson Health and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, two leading providers of inpatient general acute care hospital services and inpatient acute rehabilitation services in both Philadelphia County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The proposed merger would eliminate the robust competition between Jefferson and Einstein for inclusion in health insurance companies’ hospital networks to the detriment of patients. The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint and to authorize staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was 4-0-1, with Chairman Joseph J. Simons recused. The Commission vote to voluntarily dismiss its appeal to the Third Circuit of the district court decision declining to preliminarily enjoin the merger of Thomas Jefferson University and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network was 4-0.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint and authorized a suit in federal court to block The Procter & Gamble Company’s proposed acquisition of Billie, Inc., a direct-to-consumer company that began selling women’s razors and body care products in November 2017. The complaint alleged that the proposed acquisition would allow P&G, the market-leading supplier of both women’s and men’s wet shave razors, to buy Billie, a newer but expanding maker of women’s razors, and thereby eliminate growing competition that benefits consumers. On Jan. 5, 2021, the parties announced that they terminated their agreement for P&G to acquire Billie.
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.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint, and authorized a suit in federal court, to block the proposed $350 million acquisition by Memphis-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare of two Memphis-area hospitals, known as Saint Francis, owned by Dallas-based healthcare system Tenet Healthcare Corporation. The complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the Memphis area for a broad range of inpatient medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay, known as inpatient general acute care services, sold to commercial insurers and their insured members. According to the complaint, if the proposed acquisition is consummated, healthcare costs will rise, and the incentive to expand service offerings, invest in technology, improve access to care, and focus on quality of health care provided in the Memphis area will diminish. On Dec. 23, 2020, the parties announced that they were abandoning the acquisition.
In response to an FTC complaint, in April 2020, a California-based marketer of a supplement consisting mainly of Vitamin C and herbal extracts has agreed to a preliminary order barring him from claiming that it is effective at treating, preventing, or reducing the risk of COVID-19. Pending the resolution of a parallel administrative case, the proposed preliminary order also bars Marc Ching, doing business as Whole Leaf Organics, from claiming that three CBD-based products he sells are effective cancer treatments. The Commission approved the final administrative order in this case in October 2020.
A federal court issued a temporary restraining order against Marc and Courtney Grisham and two companies they operate, Disruption Theory LLC and Emergent Technologies LLC, which do business as inmatecall.com and inmatecallsolutions.com, related to FTC allegations they offered fake calling plans for unlimited minutes and falsely claiming to be affiliated with companies authorized to provide calling services to people who are incarcerated.
The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint challenging a proposed joint venture between Peabody Energy Corporation and Arch Coal. The transaction would combine their coal mining operations in the Southern Powder River Basin, located in northeastern Wyoming. The complaint alleges that the transaction will eliminate competition between Peabody and Arch Coal, the two major competitors in the market for thermal coal in the Southern Powder River Basin, and the two largest coal-mining companies in the United States. On Sept. 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction, and the parties abandoned their transaction.
The Federal Trade Commission issued an administrative complaint alleging that Benco, Henry Schein and Patterson, the nation's three largest dental supply companies, violated U.S. antitrust laws by conspiring to refuse to provide discounts to or otherwise serve buying groups representing dental practitioners. These buying groups sought lower prices for dental supplies and equipment on behalf of solo and small-group dental practices seeking to gain discounts by aggregating and leveraging the collective purchasing power and bargaining skills of the individual practices. The complaint also alleges an FTC Act Section 5 violation against Benco for inviting a fourth competing distributor to join the conspiracy.
The Federal Trade Commission sued F & G International Group Holdings, LLC, FG International, LLC, and their principal J. Glenn Davis, alleging they make false or unsubstantiated R-value claims about their architectural coatings products. In July 2020, the FTC sued four companies that sell paint products used to coat buildings and homes, alleging that they deceived consumers about their products’ insulation and energy-savings capabilities. In complaints filed in federal court, the FTC charged that the companies falsely overstated the R-value ratings of the coatings, making deceptive statements about heat flow and insulating power.
The FTC sued RagingWire Data Centers, Inc. over allegations that the company misled consumers about its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework and failed to adhere to the program’s requirements before allowing its certification to lapse. A proposed consent agreement that would settle those allegations was announced on June 30, 2020.
The FTC filed a complaint against SuperGoodDeals.com, Inc. and its owner, Kevin J. Lipsitz, alleging that the defendants falsely promised consumers next-day shipping of facemasks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the FTC alleged that some of the other merchandise sold through the SuperGoodDeals website were falsely advertised as “authentic” or “certified.”
New York City car dealer Bronx Honda and its general manager, Carlo Fittanto, will pay $1.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they discriminated against African-American and Hispanic car buyers and engaged in numerous other illegal business practices.
According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants told sales people to charge higher financing markups and fees to African-American and Hispanic customers. The defendants told employees that these groups should be targeted due to their limited education, and not to attempt the same practices with non-Hispanic white consumers. According to the complaint, African-American and Hispanic customers paid more for financing than similarly situated non-Hispanic white consumers.