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.
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 Federal Trade Commission will require the divestiture of energy producer EP Energy Corp.’s entire business and assets in Utah. The divestiture will resolve the agency’s allegations that EnCap Energy Capital Fund XI, L.P.’s proposed $1.445 billion acquisition of EP Energy Corp. would eliminate head-to-head competition between two of only four significant producers and otherwise harm competition for the sale of Uinta Basin waxy crude oil to Salt Lake City refiners. According to the complaint, the proposed acquisition could also increase the likelihood of collusion or coordination among the remaining competitors in the Uinta Basin.
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 obtained an order halting a credit repair scheme that allegedly bilked consumers out of millions of dollars by falsely claiming they will remove negative information from credit reports, while also filing fake identity theft reports to explain negative items on customers’ credit reports.
The FTC and the State of Maine’s complaint against Health Research Laboratories and its principal, announced in November 2017, alleged that the defendants deceptively marketed two of their health products, BioTherapex and NeuroPlus. In November 2018, the FTC mailed 16,596 checks totaling more than $750,000 to consumers who bought the two deceptively marketed supplements. The FTC and State of Maine subsequently filed a motion seeking a contempt order against the defendants in December 2019, for allegedly violating the final Commission order by continued to market and sell dietary supplements with claims that were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. In November 2020, the FTC staff discontinued its contempt action and filed an administrative complaint against the defendants. The FTC announced a proposed order settling the complaint in March 2020.
The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint against Electronic Payment Systems and its owners, John Dorsey and Thomas McCann, for allegedly opening credit card processing merchant accounts for fictitious companies on behalf of Money Now Funding, a business opportunity scam that the FTC previously sued. By ignoring warning signs that the merchants were fake, Electronic Payment Systems assisted Money Now Funding in laundering millions of dollars of consumers’ credit card payments to the scammers from 2012 to 2013.
In a consent agreement settling the matter, which the FTC has accepted for public comment, Electronic Payment Systems and its owners have agreed to restrictions on the merchants for whom they can provide credit card payment processing services, as well as additional merchant screening and monitoring requirements. The FTC is not able to obtain a monetary judgment in this case because of the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management v. FTC.
A payment processing company that allegedly helped a bogus discount club scheme debit tens of millions of dollars from consumers without authorization will be required to pay $2.3 million and face a permanent ban from working with high-risk clients as a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit.
According to the FTC’s complaint in the case, which was first filed in 2017, iStream Financial Services and its senior officers, Kris Axberg and Richard Joachim, allegedly debited money from consumers who were seeking payday or cash advance loans, but were enrolled in a bogus coupon service and charged initial fees up to almost $100 plus as much as $19.95 each month. Consumers were enrolled in the discount club scheme online and through outbound telemarketing.
The FTC reached a settlement with WW International, Inc., formerly known as Weight Watchers, and a subsidiary called Kurbo, Inc., over allegations they marketed a weight loss app for use by children as young as eight and then collected their personal information without parental permission.
Global Partners LP and Richard Wiehl have agreed to divest to Petroleum Marketing Investment Group, LLC, seven stores that sell gasoline and diesel fuel in five local markets in Connecticut, to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that Global’s proposed acquisition of 27 retail gasoline and diesel outlets owned or operated by Wiehl violates federal antitrust laws. The complaint alleges that the acquisition will harm competition for the retail sale of gasoline in and around the Connecticut towns and cities of Fairfield, Bethel, Milford, Wilton, and Shelton. In all of these local markets except Wilton, the acquisition will also harm competition for the retail sale of diesel fuel. Under the terms of the proposed consent order, among other stipulations, Global and Wiehl must divest to Petroleum Marketing Investment Group six Global retail fuel outlets and one Wheels retail fuel outlet. On March 3, 2022, the Commission announced the final consent agreement in this matter.
The Federal Trade Commission, jointly with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have sued a New York-based marketer of herbal tea, seeking to permanently block deceptive ads that claim its Earth Tea is clinically proven to treat, cure, and prevent COVID-19.
The Federal Trade Commission authorized an administrative complaint, and a suit in federal court blocking the proposed merger of Rhode Island’s two largest healthcare providers. The agency alleged the deal would lead to higher prices and lower quality care. The FTC, jointly with the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General, filed a complaint in federal district court seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the deal and to maintain the status quo pending an administrative trial on the merits of the case. On March 2, 2022, the Commission issued a statement regarding the parties’ decision to abandon the transaction.
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Attorney General's Office, a federal court temporarily halted an alleged sham credit card interest rate reduction operation that often targeted financially distressed consumers and older adults in July 2020. In February 2022, the FTC announced that the operators are permanently banned from the debt relief industry as part of court orders resolving charges by the FTC and Florida AG’s Office.
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.
Medical device company Boston Scientific Corp. agreed to divest certain assets to Varian Medical Systems to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that Boston Scientific’s proposed $4.2 billion acquisition of medical equipment and pharmaceutical supplier BTG plc would violate federal antitrust law. According to the complaint, Boston Scientific’s acquisition of BTG would harm consumers in the U.S. market for drug eluting beads, or DEBs, which are microscopic beads used to treat certain liver cancers. Interventional radiologists use DEBs, combined with chemotherapy drugs, in a procedure called transarterial chemoembolization. Under the proposed settlement agreement, Boston Scientific was required to divest to Varian its DEB business, as well as its bland bead product line. Bland beads are used in another type of procedure to block the flow of blood to a liver tumor. On Feb. 18, 2022, the Commission announced modifications to the divestiture agreement with Boston Scientific Corp.