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Wyndham’s settlement with the FTC: What it means for businesses – and consumers

Data security watchers read with interest the United States Court of Appeals’ decision earlier this year in FTC v. Wyndham, upholding the FTC’s authority to challenge allegedly lax data security practices under the unfairness prong of the FTC Act. We view that ruling as a milestone victory for consumers and for companies of all sizes that are committed to keeping customers’ personal information secure.

Clothes by any other name: FTC challenges retailers’ “bamboo” claims

Maybe “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but deceptively describing rayon clothing as bamboo isn’t so sweet – and violates the FTC’s Textile Rules. In addition to civil penalties totaling $1.3 million, settlements with Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney Company, and Backcountry.com suggest another important point for industry members: Don’t ignore warnings about deceptive ads and misleading labels.

Think your company’s not covered by the FDCPA? You may want to think again.

As the song by The Who asks, “Who are you?” When it comes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, many companies think they know who they are. If they’re third-party debt collectors, they’re covered by the FDCPA. If they’re creditors collecting their own debts, they aren’t. But as I mentioned recently in a presentation at an industry event, it’s not that simple.

Spotting the signs of a B2B scam

A small business or nonprofit gets what appears to be an invoice for a listing in an online yellow pages directory. On the face of it, it looks legit. It includes the name of an employee at the office, a copy of what the listing looks like, the “walking fingers” symbol associated with directories – and a demand for the $486.95 the business or nonprofit supposedly owes for the listing. What’s really going on?

Changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule: What your business needs to know

Law enforcement, education, technology, crowd-sourcing. The FTC fights the battle against illegal telemarketing on every possible front – and here’s the latest development. After considering public comments, the FTC just amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to protect consumers by prying four tools out of the hands of fraudsters.

Law enforcement sweep challenges dietary supplement claims

Opiate addiction is a national epidemic, but the public health crisis is only half the story. It also exacts a devastating toll on opiate-dependent individuals and their families. The FTC just filed a lawsuit against a company that claims its “opiate withdrawal supplement” provides “powerful relief” for people withdrawing from prescription medication and even heroin.

Making tracks

Interested business people are making tracks to the FTC’s workshop today on cross-device tracking. Can’t make it to Washington? Then watch the webcast.

Not yours – truly

Whether it was turn-of-the-century conman George C. Parker or Peaches O’Day, Mae West’s character in the movie “Every Day’s a Holiday,” the annals of consumer protection are filled with stories of people attempting to sell the Brooklyn Bridge or other things they don’t own. Announced as part of Operation Collection Protection, a lawsuit filed by the FTC and the New York Attorney General alleges a variation on that theme.

Defending our defenders

One way America offers a well-deserved thanks to veterans is through educational benefits. The FTC, the Department of Veterans Affairs – and taxpayers, of course – share an interest in ensuring that the people who protect us are protected from misleading practices in the marketing of educational services. But what happens when “Support Our Troops” turns into "Thwart Our Troops" in their effort to get accurate information about educational opportunities?

FTC Debt Collection Dialogue takes the midnight train to – well, you know where

Georgia’s on our mind – and if you have clients in the debt collection industry, it should be on yours, too. That’s because the FTC’s third Debt Collection Dialogue is set for Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in Atlanta. The FTC is hosting the event with the Office of the Georgia AG and Attorney General Sam Olens will set the stage with opening remarks at 1:00 PM.

The Role of the Bureau of Economics in Consumer Protection: A Conversation with Bureau Directors

Most practitioners are familiar with the work of the FTC’s two primary law enforcement bureaus. The role of the third bureau – the Bureau of Economics – may be less familiar to readers of this blog, but it’s just as essential to the agency’s mission. How do the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Bureau of Economics work together? We posed that question to BE Director Francine Lafontaine and BCP Director Jessica Rich.

Debt-cathlon

If there were a Debt Collection Decathlon – and we’re glad there isn’t – National Check Registry would have been a contender. According to the FTC and New York AG, the Buffalo-based debt collector “excelled” in a number of events: the Bogus Lawsuit Vault, the Disclosure of Debt Dash, and the Unauthorized Fee High Jump, to name just a few.

Operation Collection Protection puts the heat on illegal debt collection tactics

For debt collectors who resort to illegal tactics, it must feel like 110 in the shade because 115 law enforcement actions announced this year by the FTC and local, state, federal, and international partners – including 30 just-filed cases – have turned up the heat on law violators. From Buffalo to San Diego and dozens of jurisdictions in between, companies that flout debt collection standards are feeling the burn.

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