FTC Blogs

Vegas dealers called for deceptive claims

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But here’s one thing that doesn’t belong in Vegas or anywhere else: ads that draw buyers in with eye-catching terms while burying the “gotchas” in fine print. In separate law enforcement actions, the FTC alleged that two Las Vegas dealers – car dealers, that is – didn’t play it straight with consumers.

What’s yours is mined

It’s one of those “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” principles: Don’t use someone’s stuff without their permission. Back then, the rule applied to crayons and cupcakes. A case announced by the FTC and New Jersey AG against the marketers of a free mobile app called Prized proves that it applies to smartphones, too. And you’re not going to believe what the defendants were using people’s phones to do.

Running the risk

The online ads offer consumers a “risk-free trial” of skincare products from companies that claim to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A- rating. How could that possibly be deceptive or unfair? Let us count the ways.

Before paying with bitcoins…

If you shop online — and who doesn’t? — you might notice that some websites let you pay with bitcoins. Virtual or crypto currencies like Bitcoin can be a fast way to pay online, or in person with a mobile app. But using virtual currencies comes with risk. Their value goes up and down — sometimes sharply — depending on demand. In addition, payments made with virtual currencies aren’t reversible and don’t have the same legal protections as some traditional payment methods. Once you hit send, you can’t get your money back unless the seller agrees. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re buying from and what policies they have regarding refunds, returns, and disputes.