The Federal Trade Commission has charged a telemarketing operation and its owners with making millions of illegal, unsolicited calls about educational programs to consumers who submitted their contact information to websites promising help with job searches, public benefits, and other unrelated programs.
In early September 2023, a federal judge in Illinois ruled in the FTC’s favor, finding that the defendants made millions of illegal, unsolicited calls to consumers on the Do Not Call Registry. In granting summary judgment, the court found that the FTC was entitled to both injunctive relief and civil penalties and has scheduled a hearing to determine the amount of the civil penalty award and the scope of injunctive relief.
In November 2023, the FTC announced that California-based CRI Genetics, LLC (CRI) will pay a $700,000 civil penalty and will be barred from a wide range of deceptive practices to settle charges from the Commission and the California Attorney General that the company deceived users about the accuracy of its DNA reports.
The Federal Trade Commission sued to block John Muir Health’s proposed $142.5 million deal to acquire sole ownership of San Ramon Regional Medical Center, LLC from current majority owner Tenet Healthcare Corporation, saying the deal will drive up health care costs.
The Commission issued an administrative complaint and authorized a lawsuit in federal court alleging the proposed acquisition will eliminate head-to-head competition between John Muir Health and nearby San Ramon Regional Medical Center
The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against Amazon.com, Inc. for its years-long effort to enroll consumers into its Prime program without their consent while knowingly making it difficult for consumers to cancel their subscriptions to Prime.
In a complaint filed today, the FTC charges that Amazon has knowingly duped millions of consumers into unknowingly enrolling in Amazon Prime. Specifically, Amazon used manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user-interface designs known as “dark patterns” to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically-renewing Prime subscriptions.
Amazon also knowingly complicated the cancellation process for Prime subscribers who sought to end their membership. The primary purpose of its Prime cancellation process was not to enable subscribers to cancel, but to stop them. Amazon leadership slowed or rejected changes that would’ve made it easier for users to cancel Prime because those changes adversely affected Amazon’s bottom line.
The FTC alleged that Global Tel*Link Corp. and two of its subsidiaries failed to secure sensitive data of hundreds of thousands of users stored in a cloud environment and failed to alert all those affected by the incident.
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 Federal Trade Commission is taking action against personal finance app provider Brigit, alleging that its promises of “instant” cash advances of up to $250 for people living paycheck-to-paycheck were deceptive and that the company locked consumers into a $9.99 monthly membership they couldn’t cancel.
Brigit, also known as Bridge It, Inc., has agreed to settle the FTC’s charges, resulting in a proposed court order that would require the company to pay $18 million in consumer refunds, stop its deceptive marketing promises, and end tactics that prevented customers from cancelling.
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 Federal Trade Commission authorized an administrative complaint against the proposed merger between Microsoft Corp. and Activision Blizzard, Inc., a video game developer that creates and publishes games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. Microsoft sells the Xbox gaming console and also offers a video game subscription service called Xbox Game Pass, as well as a cloud-based video game streaming service. The agency alleges that the deal would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription and cloud-gaming business. The Commission withdrew the matter from adjudication in July 2023, and returned it to adjudication on September 26, 2023. The evidentiary hearing will commence 21 days after the issuance of the district court's decision in FTC v. Microsoft.
The Federal Trade Commission and State of Wisconsin are taking action against Wisconsin auto dealer group Rhinelander Auto Center, its current and former owners, and general manager Daniel Towne for deceiving consumers by tacking hundreds or even thousands of dollars in illegal junk fees onto car prices and for discriminating against American Indian customers by charging them higher financing costs and fees.
The defendants have agreed to proposed court orders that will require Rhinelander’s current owners and Towne to stop their unlawful practices and provide $1.1 million to be used for refunds to consumers.