From the FTC’s perspective, a certain pattern of online business has become a recipe for consumer injury.
Blog Posts Tagged with Payments and Billing
A recent ruling by a Florida Bankruptcy Judge sheds light on a tenacious team within the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. But first, let’s set the time machine to 2008 when the FTC entered into a settlement with BlueHippo, a computer financing company that pitched electronics to consumers with “less than perfect credit, bad credit, no credit.”
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the FTC staff released a Data Spotlight highlighting the category of scam with the highest amount of reported financial loss among complaint categories the FTC uses to track fraud. The category may surprise, but here’s a hint. In the words of Bon Jovi, these con artists “give love a bad name.”
Steely Dan may be one of the best duos of the rock era. (Sorry, Donnie and Marie fans.) Their song “Hey Nineteen” reminds us to mention some FTC consumer protection developments that could be of interest to your company or clients in 2019. As “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” when you’re “Reelin’ in the Years” – or at least recapping the past one – consider this non-exhaustive and in-no-particular-order case compilation.
Archeologists report that the first mention of diabetes was in a papyrus excavated from an Egyptian tomb. Roll the scroll out a bit and it wouldn’t surprise us to find an ad (in hieroglyphics, of course) for a pill or potion promising a miracle treatment. Questionable diabetes products have been around for centuries and the latest one to attract law enforcement attention is a dietary supplement called Nobetes.
According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, an international network of corporations and individuals put consumers through the wringer with false claims about “free” trial offers, followed by unauthorized charges to their accounts.
Whether it’s a spare can of cranberry sauce or an extra turkey platter, thoughtful Thanksgiving hosts make contingency plans for the holiday. This year, if the dinner discussion veers into controversial territory – like the pumpkin pie vs. pecan pie debate – here’s a suggested topic of conversation you can have at the ready.
In the annals of film, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and Casablanca are among our top picks. But don’t expect our list to include TBX-FREE, Eupepsia Thin, or Prolongz, dissolving strips of film the FTC says California-based Redwood Scientific deceptively advertised for smoking cessation, weight loss, and male sexual performance.
When people take a moment to report fraud, identity theft, or questionable business practices to the FTC, they’re giving consumers everywhere a “gift” of sorts. We use those reports – we get millions every year – to warn others about the latest scams. They also serve as an important source of information for our law enforcement efforts.
Laidlaw v. Organ was an 1817 Supreme Court case concerning an allegedly deceptive trade practice affecting a small business. You may be surprised to learn who argued that case and why it’s relevant 201 years later.
For consumers who took out loans with online payday lender AMG, the company’s illegal tactics left many of them saying OMG. But finally there’s good news for AMG customers arriving in the form of $505 million in refund checks just mailed to people who borrowed money between January 2008 through January 2013. That’s the largest amount ever sent in a refund program run by the FTC.
When the legendary Patti Page sang, “How much is that doggie in the window?” she couldn’t have guessed that six decades later, the answer might depend on whether a consumer buys or leases a pet.
The scheme started with a Craigslist ad for a rental property and ended with a $5.2 million judgment for violations of the FTC Act, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Free Annual File Disclosures Rule.
Like the three sides of a triangle, ROSCA – the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act – has three basic compliance requirements for online sellers who enroll consumers in continuity plans, often known as negative options. The law bans online negative options unless the seller: 1) clearly discloses all material terms of the deal before obtaining a consumer’s billing information; 2) gets the consumer’s express informed consent before making the charge; and 3) provides a simple mechanism for stopping recurring charges.
The Cubs are in Los Angeles and the White Sox have the day off, but there’s still a lot happening in Chicago today. The FTC’s workshop Decrypting Cryptocurrency Scams is set to start at 1:00 PM Central Time at DePaul University. Speakers will explore how scammers are exploiting the interest in cryptocurrencies and what can be done to protect and empower consumers. Can’t make it to the Loop Campus this afternoon?
If you’re in a small business, you probably need a way for people to pay you – and ways to lower your costs. Scammers have been working both of those angles, promising businesses that they can save on leases of credit card processing equipment. They’ve also been promising that businesses can cancel any time. But is that what happens?
It’s unfortunate, but it happens. First came cryptocurrency. Then came the cryptocurrency crooks. In the emerging cryptocurrency marketplace, what needs to be done to protect consumers from scams, schemes, and swindles? That’s the topic of a half-day workshop on June 25, 2018, in Chicago, and the FTC just announced the agenda.
Chances are that people you know were duped by scammers and wired the money via Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017. This Thursday, May 31st, is the deadline for consumers to file claims to get money back from the FTC’s and the Department of Justice’s settlement with Western Union. Do your friends a favor and tell them about the deadline.
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.