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Root, root root for the regions

This year eight major league baseball teams are celebrating milestone anniversaries – and so are the FTC’s regional offices. In 1918, the Commission opened the first three of its regional offices. Today, eight regional offices continue to knock it out the park on behalf of America’s consumers. So it’s only fitting that on this momentous day we acknowledge the regional offices’ century of pennant-winning performances.

New freeze law in effect September 21st: Is your business ready?

Thanks to a new federal law, free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st. What does that mean for your customers and employees?

Free credit freezes

Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in the consumer’s name. Starting September 21st, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit file for free. They also can get free freezes for their children.

FTC, puck seller, and backpack company face off on Made in USA claims

The FTC just announced a Made in USA hat trick: two proposed settlements and a final order arising from allegedly deceptive claims by a New York hockey puck seller, a California-based backpack business, and an online mattress company. The message for marketers? Given the importance of country-of-origin representations to many consumers, companies can expect the FTC to call offsides on misleading Made in USA claims.

Phantom debt collectors jump on the banned wagon

Court orders against 13 related corporate and individual defendants involved in a Georgia-based debt collection operation bring to mind the 1980s chart-topping group from Australia, Crowded House. That’s because now that Advanced Mediation Group’s enterprise has been shuttered, the FTC’s “house” of individuals and corporations banned for life from the debt collection industry just got a little more crowded.

Camouflaged commerce: What was going on at army.com?

Where do people go when considering careers in the military? Online, of course. Based on the search terms they selected, they often found themselves on sites like army.com, armyenlist.com, and similar URLs for other branches of the service. But according to an FTC complaint against Sun Key Publishing, Fanmail.com, and related defendants, what was going on behind the scenes of those sites will surprise you.

First Consumer Review Fairness case takes on promoter’s “big bucks on Amazon” claim

The marketers behind a purported money-making promotion called Sellers Playbook appear to have skipped the chapter about complying with federal and state consumer protection laws. That’s the allegation in a complaint filed by the FTC and the Minnesota Attorney General. In addition, it’s the FTC’s first case charging violations of the Consumer Review Fairness Act.

FTC alleges car dealers falsified consumers’ income on financing forms

Whether it’s a slimmer waist or an imaginary yacht superimposed in the background, we’re all familiar with the dramatic changes that retouching can make to a photo. A lawsuit the FTC has filed against Tate’s Auto Group and related companies alleges – among other things – that the defendants substantially “retouched” the financial circumstances of customers trying to finance cars.

FTC goes used car shopping, “test drives” 2300 vehicles

So we went used car shopping recently – the FTC and 12 other law enforcement agencies. We visited 94 dealerships in 20 cities across the country. Yes, we saw some low-mileage cream puffs, but that’s not what we were in the market for. We wanted to see if dealerships were displaying the revised Buyers Guide required as of January 28, 2018. The results proved interesting.

Time for a ROSCA recap: FTC says “risk free trial” was risky – and not free

Like the three sides of a triangle, ROSCA – the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act – has three basic compliance requirements for online sellers who enroll consumers in continuity plans, often known as negative options. The law bans online negative options unless the seller: 1) clearly discloses all material terms of the deal before obtaining a consumer’s billing information; 2) gets the consumer’s express informed consent before making the charge; and 3) provides a simple mechanism for stopping recurring charges.

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