It’s a given that companies shouldn’t charge consumers hidden fees. But it raises a particular concern when an online lender makes “No Hidden Fees” claims a centerpiece of its marketing – and then deducts from those loans hundreds or even thousands of dollars in hidden up-front fees.
Last year, we heard from small business owners about their cybersecurity challenges at a series of roundtable discussions the FTC hosted with some of its partners. What we learned is that small business owners need and want information on how to keep their computer systems and business data safe. So we’re planning to provide that to them. Later this year, the FTC will launch a small business education campaign on cybersecurity, in partnership with other federal agencies.
In its August 2017 proposed consent agreement with Uber, the FTC alleged, among other things, that the company’s unreasonable security practices resulted in a May 2014 data breach. But there’s more to the story now. According to the FTC, Uber experienced another breach in the fall of 2016 – right in the middle of the FTC’s nonpublic investigation – but didn’t disclose it to the FTC until November 2017.
No matter what you call it – facts and figures, the boxscore, or a report from the stat-o-sphere – a recap is a great way to get the lay of the land. Which brings me to the FTC’s Annual Highlights, a short but detailed summary of the Commission’s 2017 efforts to promote competition and protect consumers.
When the screen goes blue
And the car breaks down
And the smartphone keeps rebooting eternally
Consumers won’t be afraid
No, they won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand by your warranty.
Here’s the thing about nectar. It can be sweet, but sticky. People who paid Palo Alto-based Nectar Brand LLC for mattresses labeled “Designed and Assembled in the USA” thought they were getting a sweet deal. In fact, buyers were stuck with mattresses imported from China, already completed. The company, which also uses the names Nectar Sleep and DreamCloud, performed no assembly operations in the United States.
An FTC lawsuit alleges that money-making claims made by a related group of companies and individuals for their Amazing Wealth System are “amazing” all right – if by “amazing” you mean “not credible” or “unsupported by the facts.” The complaint charges the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Ru
When the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection started the Business Blog in 2010, we promised readers “a minimum of ho-hum, a maximum of how-to, and as little yadda yadda yadda as a legal website can manage.” More than 1,000 Business Blog posts later and we’re still striving to keep things engaging and enlightening (although being a legal website and all, we’ve succeeded is cutting out only two of the yaddas).
Medical professionals, consumer advocates, industry members, and law enforcers are gathering in Washington right now in anticipation of today’s workshop, The Contact Lens Rule and the Evolving Contact Lens Marketplace. Panelists will scrutinize issues related to competition in the marketplace, consumer access to contact lenses, prescription release and portability, and other topics.
Every business wants to forge an ongoing relationship with their customers. That principle takes on special significance for mobile device manufacturers when they need to issue security patches for the operating system software on their phones and tablets. Once devices are in consumers’ hands, are they getting the patches they need to protect against critical vulnerabilities? Are companies deploying those patches in a timely fashion and for a reasonable length of time?
Once bitten, twice shy. That fundamental principle of human behavior is why reputable businesses that work hard to earn consumers’ confidence should support the FTC’s ongoing efforts to fight fraud. According to the FTC’s 2017 Consumer Sentinel Data Book, consumers reported losing a total of $905 million to fraud last year. That’s close to a billion bucks people won’t be able to spend on legitimate products and services from credible companies.
The FTC is eyeing its Contact Lens Rule and has announced the agenda for a March 7, 2018, workshop, The Contact Lens Rule and the Evolving Contact Lens Marketplace.
If you’ve been following the FTC’s lawsuit against AT&T alleging deceptive and unfair data throttling, there’s important news. A unanimous en banc decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in the FTC’s favor on a key issue involving the agency’s jurisdiction.
Right now DC is the place to be for people interested in the latest on consumer privacy and data security. The FTC’s third PrivacyCon begins at 9:15 ET on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, with opening remarks from Acting Chairman Ohlhausen. Like the first two PrivacyCons, this year’s event features many of the biggest names in the research world discussing their findings.
Advances in payment methods could end those open-wallet debates about who owes what for the pizza. But as innovative technologies change how people pay for things, established consumer protection principles apply. An FTC complaint against peer-to-peer payment service Venmo – now operated by PayPal – alleges that the company failed to disclose material information about the availability of consumers’ funds.
As a business person, you know that accessing the public Wi-Fi network in an airport lounge, coffee shop, or other location can be risky. Public networks aren’t very secure – or, well, private – and it could be easy for others to intercept your confidential business or personal data. But there are times when every executive has to be out and about. So what can you do to keep your mobile data private and secure? Some people use Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to shield traffic from their mobile devices from prying eyes on public networks.
Who among us wouldn’t want to turn back the hands of time? But don’t try to summon the spirit of Ponce de León just yet. According to the FTC, anti-aging claims for TA-65MD and TA-for 65 Skin lacked scientific substantiation. In addition, the FTC challenged the company’s use of consumer endorsements and alleged that it falsely represented that a paid-for segment touting its products on The Suzanne Show was independent programming.
Engage, connect, protect was the theme of a series of Small Business Security Roundtables the FTC sponsored last summer. We listened to businesses talk about the challenges they face in securing sensitive information and fending off cyber threats. We also heard that they want concrete advice from the FTC. For example, how can a small company – especially one that may not have the in-house expertise to host its own website – get down to business while also addressing these concerns?
As a business person managing your personal portfolio, you do your best to keep up with the latest financial news. You’ve been hearing more about cryptocurrencies and asking yourself “Hmmm.” Of course, it’s not just bitcoin. There are now hundreds of cryptocurrencies, which are a type of digital currency, on the market. They’ve been publicized as a fast and inexpensive way to pay online, but many are now also being marketed as investment opportunities. But before you decide to purchase cryptocurrency as an investment, here are a few things to know: