In Amazon’s Appstore, many apps geared toward kids prompted them to use fictitious currency, like a “boatload of doughnuts” or a “can of stars,” as part of game play. But a federal district court recently agreed with the FTC that Amazon’s practice of charging cold, hard cash for those imaginary items and billing parents and account holders without their express informed consent violates Section 5 of the FTC Act.
Blog Posts Tagged with Credit and Finance
Animation fans remember the ballet-dancing pink hippos in Fantasia. In Egyptian mythology, the god of disorder was depicted as a red hippo.
“Is it getting hot in here?” For companies that engage in illegal debt collection practices, the answer is a resounding yes. One reason is the unprecedented cooperative effort by federal and state law enforcers to turn up the heat on violators. There’s more to come, of course, but efforts like Operation Collection Protection prove that consumer protection agencies are stronger when we work together.
What do you call an agency that in one year can report consumer protection accomplishments as varied as:
A complaint filed by the FTC and the Illinois Attorney General against an operation that used names like Stark Law, Stark Recovery, and Capital Harris Miller & Associates alleges a veritable smorgasbord of debt collection violations. But the Stark Law lawsuit includes an additional allegation that should send a stark warning to those in the debt buying business.
We get this question a lot: “Is it OK to use text messages or social media to collect debts?” Do you want the short answer or the more detailed one? The short answer is that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act doesn’t prohibit collectors from using texts or social media. But – and this is a major caveat – recent FTC law enforcement actions suggest that using them can present particular compliance challenges. That’s the short answer. If you collect debts as part of your business, read on to find out more.
We’ve learned that portfolios of alleged payday loan debts serviced by AMG Services are circulating in the debt collection marketplace. The alleged lenders are USFastCash, 500FastCash, OneClickCash, Ameriloan, United Cash Loans, AdvantageCashServices, and StarCashProcessing. But these alleged debts are bogus. The consumers do not owe the alleged debts, and the lenders have never authorized, assigned, or sold any of their loans for third-party collection.
Ask any gardener and they’ll tell you it’s a fool’s errand to lop weeds off at the surface. You also have to target the root system that allows them to propagate in the first place. That’s one of the messages to take from a judgment in the FTC’s case against Ideal Financial Solutions, Inc., and previous actions against data brokers and others who lent their green thumbs to Ideal’s large-scale consumer scam.
Usually a Top 10 list is something industries are delighted to find themselves on. So we’ll call this one a Flop 10 list, the FTC’s annual report about consumer complaints added in 2015 to the Consumer Sentinel database. How did your industry – and your state – rank in reported complaints?
First, the box score:
If your company is in the business of pretzels or pitchforks, what you’re selling and who you’re selling to may not be a big deal. But if your stock-in-trade is personal information – sensitive stuff like people’s Social Security and bank account numbers – what’s reasonable under the circumstances may be different. That’s the message companies can take from the FTC’s settlement of a pending complaint against data broker LeapLab.
Remember the scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where veteran Crash Davis is prepping rookie Nuke LaLoosh for a TV interview and schools him on clichés about teamwork? “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help.” They don’t just apply to baseball. Most enterprises rely on help from others on the team. Unfortunately for consumers, that includes questionable outfits that need another company’s help to accept credit cards.
You’ve got lots of needs as a business owner – among them, supplies you rely on from square-dealing vendors. But what if the vendor misleads your staff about the price or quantity of those supplies, hits you with a huge invoice you didn’t authorize, and then tries to pressure you into paying it? Those are just some of the sales tactics the FTC is challenging in recent law enforcement actions.
According to the musical “Grease,” some things go together like “rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.” Some other things go together, too. They’re easier to pronounce, but do much more harm to consumers. What do we have in mind?
Bogus weight loss claims and deceptive “free” trial offers.
Take a look at ftc.gov and what’s the first thing we say in the top right and on pretty much every page on the site? File a consumer complaint. Ever wonder where we get those complaints and how we use them?
Why is it your business if identity theft victims can get free personal recovery plans and other help that makes it easier for them to report and recover from identity theft? Here’s an answer: Because it’s good business – for you, your customers, your employees, and your community.
When we announced Operation Collection Protection in November, a federal-state crackdown on illegal debt collection practices, we said it was just the start of a historic partnership – and we weren’t kidding.
2015 saw the end of The Late Show with David Letterman, but his Top 10 List legacy lives on. From the home office in Washington, D.C., here is our informal take on ten topics we covered this year in the BCP Business Blog.
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.
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.
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.