Earlier this week was the 66th anniversary of the so-called Roswell UFO incident. No, Mulder and Scully aren't on temporary assignment to the FTC and we don’t have any “now it can be told” government news on the subject. But we can offer insights into what happening on MARS: the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule. As X Files fans would say, "The truth is out there," but one place it appears to be lacking is in promotions making overhyped promises to homeowners in financial trouble.
Blog Posts Tagged with Credit and Finance
"You’ve reached the FTC. Sorry we’re not able to take your call right now. But if you’re Expert Global Solutions — the biggest debt collection operation in the world — please pay a $3.2 million civil penalty, the largest ever from a third-party debt collector, and start honoring the terms of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Oh, and at the sound of the tone, please don’t leave a voicemail illegally disclosing that a person owes money." BEEP.
Yesterday’s 10th anniversary of the National Do Not Call Registry was a good time to reflect on a decade of progress. But to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson (or Patrick Henry, Irish statesman John Philpot Curran, or whoever else said it), eternal vigilance is the price of an uninterrupted dinner hour. A record-setting $7.5 million settlement with a national mortgage broker demonstrates the FTC’s commitment to the fight against
There's "Life of Pi" and "Life of Brian," Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson,” the sitcom “Life of Riley,” and the Beatles’ ground-breaking “A Day in the Life.” We view Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a roundtable hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as pretty ground-breaking, too. And the topic — the flow of consumer data through the debt collection process — should attract the interest of your clients in the financial field.
We’re not one to loft accolades in the direction of fraudulent telemarketers, but we’ll say this about them: They’re a quick study when it comes to using new technologies and business methods to their shady advantage. As part of its ongoing effort to protect consumers from deceptive telemarketing, the FTC is proposing amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that would curtail the use of certain kinds of payments that have become fast favorites among fraudsters.
When the topic turns to debt collection, some people assume the only thing that changes hands is money. But there’s another important consideration: the life cycle of consumer information as it flows through the debt collection process. That's the subject of Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a June 6, 2013, roundtable co-hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Law enforcers hate ‘em, legitimate businesses hate ‘em, and consumers — well, they really hate ‘em: unauthorized charges that show up on people’s cell phone bills. It’s called mobile cramming and The Good Guys are united in finding answers to the problem.
The FTC is always working to know more about the types of fraud being committed and who spends money on them. Periodically, we survey consumers and ask them to share details about their recent marketplace experiences and a bit about themselves. Our most recent survey found that nearly 11% of U.S. adults — an estimated 25.6 million people — paid for fraudulent products and services in 2011.
We can’t figure out why Hollywood hasn’t returned our call, but here's a great idea for an action movie. FTC attorneys go to court to stop a company from illegally billing people for text message-based subscription services they never asked for and didn’t authorize. We even have a can’t-miss title: Crambo.
Paper, Plastic, . . . Mobile? The question isn’t about how you bag your groceries — it’s about how you pay for them. Are you going to use cold hard cash?
“Payment processing” used to involve standing in the checkout line and handing the cashier your pennies. (Remember checkout lines? Remember cashiers? Remember pennies?) In a lawsuit filed in federal court, the FTC alleges that Ideal Financial Solutions and more than a dozen individual and corporate defendants used an “intricate web of concealment” to game the payment processing system in a way that resulted in more than $25 million in unauthorized credit card charges and bank account debits.
No, not the cherubic child star on reality TV. We’re talking about the serious repercussions of American Tax Relief's misleading claims about substantially reducing what consumers owed in taxes — and major mistakes some businesses make when it comes to the financial consequences of deception. A look at the settlement offers insights into the breadth of remedies available for violations of the FTC Act and related rules.
The Hobby Protection Act is something of a misnomer. Most hobbies don’t need much by way of protection. But if you or your clients are involved in the sale of coins or certain collectibles, it’s a law you need to know about. The FTC’s settlement with the National Collector’s Mint and Avram C. Freedberg alleges violations of the Hobby Protection Act — and also raises interesting issues about how the company’s automated ordering system compounded other deceptive practices challenged in the case.
A sure way to see smoke coming out of consumers’ ears: Put charges on their phone bills for services they never ordered and didn’t authorize. In a lawsuit just filed against Montana-based American eVoice, Steven Sann, and others, that’s what the FTC says is going on.
Here’s a first for you: The FTC has released a series of ads created by its own staff and boy, are they bad. No, we’re not channeling our inner Sterling Cooper Mad Men. The goal is to help companies comply with their legal obligations by showing some of the questionable mortgage-related claims likely to cause law enforcement — and consumer — heartburn.
Let’s cut to the chase, Girlfriend. You’re one annoying you-know-what. And according to multiple lawsuits filed by the FTC, those robocalls you’re placing are big-time illegal.
You’ve heard the truisms. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never play cards with a guy named Doc. We’ve got another one for you: Think twice before doing business with a company called Legitimate Debt Settlement.
The charges outlined in the FTC’s lawsuits against a software business and seven rent-to-own companies are surprising — and OK, some might say a little creepy. Software on rented computers gave the companies the ability to hit the kill switch if people were behind on their payments. But according to the complaints, it also let them collect sensitive personal information, grab screen shots, and take webcam photos of people in their homes.
"Hey, I've never met you.
So don't get clever.
That's my number.
Robocall me never."
There are lots of good reasons for infomercial marketers and other retailers to abide by truth-in-advertising principles. But for people who insist on a dollars-and-cents rationale, the Court-ordered $478 million price tag for violations related to national ads for money-making systems makes legal compliance look like a bargain.