For people who were looking to run their own businesses, the lesson of the FTC’s proposed $2.1 million proposed settlement with Las Vegas-based Seed Consulting, LLC, is that neither their future nor their fortune was in the cards – credit cards, that is. The defendants’ modus operandi was to file falsified credit card applications in consumers’ names – a service for which they charged a hefty fee – so that consumers could use those lines of credit to pay for “business seminars” offered by third-party outfits with whom Seed Consulting was in cahoots.
Blog Posts Tagged with Franchises, Business Opportunities, and Investments
There’s a standard movie trope of a group stranded in the desert. Parched and burned, their spirits soar when they see an oasis on the horizon. With their last ounce of energy, they crawl toward the lush palms and beckoning pool. But as they dip their hands in the water, they realize it was just a mirage. For consumers looking to supplement their income and gain financial independence, promoters’ promises may seem like that oasis on the horizon. But in many cases, those money-making promises are an illusion.
Interested in what’s going on with the Franchise Rule? Reviewing the Franchise Rule: An FTC Virtual Workshop begins at 1:00 Eastern Time today – Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Minutes before the start of the workshop, follow the link on the event page to watch the webcast. In addition, FTC staff will live tweet from the FTC’s Twitter page using the hashtag #FranchiseRuleFTC.
Buying a franchise is a major financial commitment for consumers. The Franchise Rule was put in place to ensure consumers have key information to weigh the risks and benefits of their potential investment. As part of its ongoing regulatory review process, the FTC is hosting an online workshop, Reviewing the Franchise Rule, on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.
In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, the FTC alleged that Online Trading Academy made unsubstantiated mega-bucks promises about their purported investment training programs. According to the complaint – and the defendants’ own data – for most OTA customers, the only time they saw big money was as it flew out of their hands and into the defendants’ pockets.
Etymologists – the word origin people – trace “franchise” back to a mash-up of French terms meaning both “forthright expression” and “membership.” Five hundred years later and those two concepts remain intertwined in the FTC’s Franchise Rule. Join us virtually on November 10, 2020, as we host an online public event, Reviewing the Franchise Rule: An FTC Workshop.
Last year the FTC and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection sued Nudge, LLC, and related companies and individuals, alleging they used bogus money-making claims to lure people into buying real estate training programs – a scheme the two agencies say ultimately took consumers for more than $400 million. Soon after that, the parties entered into a stipulated preliminary injunction.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the FTC has released dozens of warning letters against people trying to make an illegal buck off the Coronavirus. More than a month in, it seems like a good time to look back at what’s happened. If you follow this blog, you’ll know these have been busy weeks – with advice about spotting the many scams we’re all facing, news of the warning letters sent on a wide range of scams, and some enforcement actions filed.
The FTC is not the pen pal you want if you operate a multi-level marketing company but aren’t closely monitoring your distributors.
Ads for health products often target Boomer Consumers, but those aren’t the only claims pitched to people looking toward retirement. An FTC action alleges a company called Online Trading Academy has taken in more than $370 million by gearing its deceptive representations to that demographic. In addition, the complaint alleges violations of the Consumer Review Fairness Act.
The new year has just begun, but the FTC already has delivered its answer to the annual question: Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? The answer? If you’re a past defendant in an FTC case, the FTC won’t forget you.
In tribute to the baseball season that’s just ended, we’ll start this blog post about an alleged pyramid scheme and supposed miraculous dietary supplements with the words of the great Yogi Berra: “It's like déjà vu all over again.”
A savvy business person always wants to know the shape of things to come. We won’t make predictions but, based on the FTC’s case against multi-level marketer AdvoCare International, we will say this: Don’t bet on a business model that looks like a pyramid.
The name of the case is FTC v. Fat Giraffe Marketing Group, but the lawsuit has nothing to do with obesity, giraffes, or obese giraffes. OK, perhaps there are some similarities in the sense that the defendants made oversized claims, told tales as tall as tree-topping ungulates, and used protective coloration – in this case, bogus endorsements – to camouflage what they were up to.
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.
Based on the promoters’ promises, it sounded like a tropical paradise: a luxury enclave called Sanctuary Belize featuring a championship golf course, a new airport with direct flights to the U.S., and a hospital staffed with American doctors. No wonder consumers – many of whom were contemplating retirement – sunk more than $100 million of their savings into lots in what appeared to be a swanky resort development already under construction.
One of the Utah-based defendants’ corporate names was Vision Solution Marketing, but you need to hear their sales pitch to get a sense of how they peddled their big-money “business coaching” services to consumers. In addition to imposing multi-million dollar judgments, FTC settlements ban the defendants for life from selling business coaching or development services. But you really should listen to these phone calls.
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.
The marketers behind a purported money-making promotion called Sellers Playbook appear to have skipped the chapter about complying with federal and state consumer protection laws. That’s the allegation in a complaint filed by the FTC and the Minnesota Attorney General. In addition, it’s the FTC’s first case charging violations of the Consumer Review Fairness Act.
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?