Blog Posts Tagged with Credit and Finance

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(Con)tempting fate

We’re not lyricists, but had the 1972 hit “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” been addressed to defendants in FTC actions, here’s our proposed rewrite:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.

You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t engage in acts and practices in contempt of a United States District Judge’s Permanent Injunction.

8 advertising potholes auto dealers should avoid

In a drive to encourage truth in auto advertising, the FTC has announced Operation Steer Clear – a coast-to-coast law enforcement sweep focusing on deceptive TV, newspaper, and online claims about sales, financing, and leasing.  If you have clients in the auto industry, the lessons of Operation Steer Clear can help keep them on the right track.

FTC to advertisers: 7 New Year's resolutions

Sprinkle it on food.  Slather it on skin.  Place drops under the tongue.  Regardless of how consumers use your product, if you make weight loss claims, here’s a New Year’s resolution to consider:  Make sure you have sound science to support what you say.  That’s just one message marketers can take from FTC actions against Sensa, L’Occitane, HCG Diet Direct, and LeanSpa, settlements that will return big money back to consumers – including $26.5 million to peopl

When a data oops becomes an uh-oh

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  Glitch Happens.  In the case of Accretive Health, Inc., it was a laptop taken from the passenger compartment of an employee’s car.  What transformed this oops into a full-fledged uh-oh was that the laptop contained files with 20 million pieces of data about 23,000 patients, including sensitive health information.  And according to the FTC’s lawsuit, the employee in question didn’t need all that

Combating "cramouflage": What businesses can learn from the FTC's latest mobile case

Call it "cramouflage" — unauthorized (and unexplained) charges that show up on people's mobile phone bills.  Regardless of whether consumers use cell phones, land lines, or two cans tied together with string, it’s illegal to bill them without their express consent.  That’s always been the law.  It’s the law now.  And we’ll go out on a limb and predict it’ll always be the law.  A settlement involving "cramouflage" charges is the FTC's latest foray against deception in the mobile marketplace.

Heads up, payment processors

Here’s a fun fact we didn’t know:  Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand.  And here's a disturbing observation borne out by FTC experience:  Some companies that grease the wheels for fraudsters do bury their heads in the sand.  Others go a step further and help cover up their affiliates’ wrongdoing.  Either course of conduct could land them in legal hot water.  That’s just one message businesses can take from the FTC’s settlement with Process America, Inc.

A Mark, A Yen, A Buck or A Pound

Those billions of dollars people send from the U.S. to other countries make the world go around. If your company or your clients are in the business of sending remittances overseas for consumers, you need to know about a rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that just took effect.

Phantom of the owe-pera

This tale of phantoms doesn’t involve crashing chandeliers and operatic crescendos.  But according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the results were just as dramatic for consumers mistreated by debt collectors who used deceptive and threatening tactics to collect on “phantom” payday loans — bogus debts people didn’t really owe.  The complaint charges Atlanta- and Cleveland-based Pinnacle Payment Services, LLC and a chorus of corporate officers and affiliated outfits with violations of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practice

DONT VIOL8 FDCPA. K? THX

If we were sending a text about the FTC’s case against Glendale, California, based debt collector National Attorney Collection Services, that might be all we could convey, given space limitations.  That abbreviated headline illustrates just one of the technological challenges posed when using new means of communication.  But regardless of the method debt collectors choose when contacting people who owe money, the consumer protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act still apply.  That’s just one point members of the industry should

FTC's Jamster case: 5 tips for mobile marketers

So people were taking a few minutes to play the free version of Angry Birds on their Android device.  At some point between the Giant Slingshot and the Mighty Eagle, they got a "Virus Detected" warning.  But according to an FTC lawsuit, that scary-looking security alert was phony and just a way for Jamster (the court papers use the corporate name Jesta Digital) to place charges on people's cell phone bills without their express consent.

Surely you Jesta: Jamster jammed for mobile cramming

You thought Angry Birds get peeved at those annoying green pigs?  That's nothing compared to consumers’ reaction when they found unauthorized charges “crammed” onto their cell phone bills for phony virus scans that showed up when they played Angry Birds on their Android devices.  To settle an FTC lawsuit, Jesta Digital LLC — you may know them as Jamster — will give refunds to a significant number of consumers, pay an additional $1.2 million, and change the way they do business.

Business buyer beware

As a small business person, you’re looking for ways to keep your credit and debit card processing costs down.  So when someone calls claiming to be associated with your current card processor, Visa or MasterCard, or your bank and promises big savings, of course you’d be all ears.  But according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the deceptive practices of one processing outfit have given new meaning to the word “swipe.”

Magistrate Judge's finding: Payday lenders covered by FTC Act even if affiliated with American Indian Tribes

In an FTC action challenging allegedly illegal business practices by a payday loan operation affiliated with American Indian Tribes, a United States Magistrate Judge just issued a report and recommendation on the scope of the FTC Act.  Attorneys will want to give the order a careful read, but here’s the need-to-know nugget:  Over the defendants’ vigorous opposition, the Magistrate Judge concluded that the FTC Act “gives the FTC the authority to bring suit against Indian Tribes, arms of Indian Tribes, and employees and contractors of arms of

The truth is out there

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.

When all is said and dun: Record-setting penalty for debt collection violations

"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.

FTC's record-setting Do Not Call settlement: 4 tips for business and one candid suggestion

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

"I read the news today, oh boy"

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.

Calling for comments about proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule

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.

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