FTC International Monthly

Current Issue: March 2021

March 2021 International Monthly

Highlights

  • FTC Report Explores Agency’s International Role

Consumer Protection and Privacy

  • New FTC Data Show Massive Increase in Romance Scams, $304M in Losses
  • FTC Shuts Down Massive Charity Fraud Telefunding Operation
  • Operators of Bogus Income Scam Targeting Latinas Permanently Banned from Pitching Money-Making Opportunities

Competition

  • Georgia Hospitals Abandon Proposed Merger in the Face of FTC Challenge

In Other News

  • FTC To Hold Virtual Workshop Exploring Digital “Dark Patterns”
  • FTC Issues Orders to Five E-Cigarette Manufacturers
  • FTC Launches Initiative To Encourage Lower-Income Communities To Report Fraud
  • FTC Issues Annual Report on Ethanol Market Concentration 2020

Previous Issue: February 2021

February 2021 International Monthly
  • President Biden Names FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter Acting Chair, Replacing Departing FTC Chairman Joseph Simons

Consumer Protection and Privacy

  • Amazon To Pay $61.7 Million To Settle FTC Charges It Withheld Some Customer Tips from Amazon Flex Drivers
  • FTC Brings First-Ever Cases Under the BOTS Act
  • FTC Received 4.7 Million Complaints from Consumers in 2020 and Returned More Than $482 Million to Consumers

Competition

  • FTC Again Charges Endo and Impax with Illegally Preventing Competition in U.S. Market for Oxymorphone ER
  • Tronox Abandons Proposed Acquisition of TiZir Titanium and Iron Following Staff Recommendation To Challenge
  • FTC To Study the Impact of Physician Group and Healthcare Facility Mergers

In Other News

  • FTC Publishes Annual Performance Report
  • FTC Announces Annual Update of Size of Transaction Thresholds for Premerger Notification Filings and Interlocking Directorates
  • Discretionary Practice of Early Termination Temporarily Suspended
  • FTC Blog Warns of Identity Theft Risk of Posting COVID-19 Vaccination Cards on Social Media

Archives

Issue Highlights
2021
January
  • FTC Seeks Data from Nine Social Media and Video Streaming Services About How They Collect, Use, and Present Information
  • Developer of Popular Women’s Fertility-Tracking App Settles FTC Allegations That It Misled Consumers About the Disclosure of Their Health Data and Violated Privacy Shield Principles
  • FTC Imposes Conditions on E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Acquisition of Assets from Constellation Brands, Inc.
  • Bureau of Competition Publishes Blog Post on Ten Memorable Developments in 2020
2020
December
  • FTC Seeks Data from Nine Social Media and Video Streaming Services About How They Collect, Use, and Present Information
  • As Scammers Leverage Pandemic Fears, FTC and Law Enforcement Partners Crack Down on Deceptive Income Schemes Nationwide
  • FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization
  • FTC Chairman Addresses Firms’ Acquisitions of Emerging Competitive Threats.
November
  • FTC Requires Zoom To Enhance Its Security Practices as Part of Settlement
  • FTC Signs Updated Memorandum of Understanding with Nigerian Consumer Protection and Criminal Enforcement Authorities
  • Court Issues Order Halting Operators of Fake Websites Claiming to Sell Clorox and Lysol Products
  • FTC Releases FY 2020 National Do Not Call Registry Data Book
October
  • International Competition Network Addresses Enforcement and Policy Challenges of the Digital Economy at United States-Hosted 19th Annual Conference
  • FTC Expands Merger Retrospective Program
  • Second Round of Refunds, Totaling $147 Million, Sent to Consumers As a Result of Multi-Agency Case Against Western Union
  • Brazil’s SENACON Joins econsumer.gov
September
  • International Competition Network Addresses Enforcement and Policy Challenges of the Digital Economy at United States-Hosted 19th Annual Conference
  • U.S. Agencies Sign Antitrust Cooperation Framework with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and United Kingdom
  • Court Orders $120 Million Judgment in Sanctuary Belize, the Largest Land Fraud Case in FTC History
  • FTC Sends Letters Warning 20 More Marketers To Stop Making Unsupported COVID-19 Treatment Claims
August
  • Save the Date - September 14-17 - for This Year's ICN Annual Conference, Co-hosted by the FTC and Department of Justice
  • FTC Reports to Court That Volkswagen Returned More Than $9.5 Billion to Car Buyers Deceived by “Clean Diesel” Ad Campaign
  • FTC and econsumer.gov Members Launch an Updated Website
  • FTC Commissioners Testify at Senate Committee Oversight Hearing
  • FTC Testifies Before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Efforts to Combat COVID-19 Scams
July
  • FTC and DOJ Issue Antitrust Guidelines for Evaluating Vertical Mergers
  • FTC Settles Two Privacy Shield Cases
  • FTC Issues Staff Report on Made in USA Workshop, Seeks Comment on Proposed Labeling Rule
  • FTC and DOJ Release FY 2019 Hart-Scott-Rodino Premerger Notification Report
June
  • FTC Submits Comments on Telehealth During Pandemic
  • FTC Issues More Warnings to Businesses About COVID-19 Claims
  • Swiss Digital Game Developer Settles FTC Allegations That It Falsely Claimed It Was a Member of COPPA Safe Harbor Program
  • Developer of Apps Popular with Children Agrees To Settle FTC Allegations It Illegally Collected Kids’ Data Without Parental Consent
  • FTC Releases Funeral Home Compliance Results, Offers New Business Guidance on Funeral Rule Requirements
May
  • FTC Imposes Conditions on Össur Hf’s Acquisition of College Park Industries, Inc.
  • Court Approves $5 Billion Facebook Settlement
  • FTC Intensifies Enforcement Against Unsupported COVID-19 Health Claims
  • FTC Launches Two New Interactive Dashboards Detailing Consumer Reports About International Fraud
  • FTC Seeks Comment as Part of Review of Health Breach Notification Rule
April
  • FTC and DOJ Announce Expedited Antitrust Procedure and Guidance for Coronavirus Public Health Efforts
  • International Competition Network Annual Conference Rescheduled for September
  • FTC Data Shows Jump in Coronavirus-Related Consumer Complaints
  • FTC Warns VoIP Service Providers Against Helping Telemarketers Make Illegal Coronavirus-Related Robocalls; Joins with Federal Communications Commission in Additional Warning Letters to Gateway Providers
  • Medical Diagnostic Device Maker Settles Allegations That It Misled Consumers About Its Participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
March
  • FTC Challenges Proposed Merger of Two Hospital Systems
  • FTC, FDA Send Warning Letters to Seven Companies About Unsupported Claims That Products Can Treat or Prevent Coronavirus
  • FTC 2019 Privacy and Data Security Update Highlights Record Fines and International Cooperation
  • First Round of Refunds Totaling $153 Million Sent to Consumers As a Result of Multi-Agency Case Against Western Union
  • New FTC Data Show Consumers Reported Losing More Than $200 Million to Romance Scams in 2019
February
  • FTC To Examine Past Acquisitions by Large Technology Firms
  • FTC Challenges Anticompetitive Scheme To Maintain a $4,000 Percent List-Price Increase for Life-Saving Drug Daraprim
  • Razor Manufacturer Abandons Proposed Acquisition of Disruptive Rival After FTC Sues To Block Merger
  • Background Check Services Provider Agrees To Settle FTC Allegations That It Falsely Claimed Participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
January
  • FTC and DOJ Issue Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines for Public Comment
  • FTC Alleges Fuel Card Marketer FleetCor Charged Hundreds of Millions in Hidden Fees
  • Defendants Who Helped Blast Consumers with Millions of Cruise Line Robocalls Settle FTC Complaint
  • FTC Calls for Presentations for Privacy Con 2020
  • FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Publishes Blog Post on Notable Cases and Initiatives from the Past Year
2019
December
  • For-Profit University To Pay Record $191 Million To Resolve FTC Charges That It Deceived Prospective Students
  • FTC Determines That Cambridge Analytica Deceived Consumers About the Collection of Facebook Data, Compliance with EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
  • Five Companies Settle FTC Allegations That They Falsely Claimed Participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
  • FTC Testifies Before House Judiciary Subcommittee About Competition Enforcement and Policy, Including in Technology Markets
  • FTC Consumer Blog: What To Ask Before Buying Internet-Connected Toys for the Holidays
  • Bureau of Competition Publishes Blog Post Clarifying That in Merger Analysis a Firm’s Closest Competitor Is Not Its Only Competitor
November
  • Consummated Merger of Microprocessor Prosthetic Knee Companies To Be Unwound
  • Agency Heads from the United States, Canada, and Mexico Discuss Antitrust Policy and Enforcement
  • FTC and DOJ Approve Procedural Amendments to HSR Rules for Foreign Entities
  • FTC Sues Multi-Level Marketer for Operating as an Illegal Pyramid Scheme and Falsely Promoting Brain Health Supplements
  • AT&T To Pay $60 Million To Resolve FTC Allegations It Misled Consumers with ‘Unlimited Data’ Promises
  • FTC Charges Data Storage Services Company with Falsely Claiming Participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
  • FTC Is Hosting Nine International Fellows and Interns and Accepting Nominations for February 2020 Class
  • FTC Releases Advertising Disclosures Guidance for Online Influencers
  • FTC Joins Charity Regulators Around the Nation, World To Raise Awareness of Charity Fraud
October
  • FTC Sues Owner of Online Dating Service Match.com for Using Fake Love Interest Ads to Trick Consumers into Paying for a Subscription
  • Multi-Level Marketer AdvoCare Will Pay $150 Million to Settle FTC Charges It Operated an Illegal Pyramid Scheme
  • FTC Acts Against Company Using Celebrity Endorsements, Bogus Earnings Claims to Sell Real Estate Seminars
  • Econsumer.gov Launches Social Media Campaign on Reporting International Scams
  • Belizean Bank to Pay $23 Million to Settle FTC Charges It Provided Substantial Assistance to the Sanctuary Belize Real Estate Scam
  • NEXUS Gas Transmission Eliminates Non-Compete as Condition of Pipeline Acquisition
  • FTC to Study E-Cigarette Manufacturers’ Sales, Advertising, and Promotional Methods
August/September
  • FTC Chairman Announces Output from Hearings and Highlights Recommendations for SAFE WEB Act Renewal and Enhanced Cooperation Tools from International Hearing
  • Google and YouTube Will Implement Compliance System and Pay Record $170 Million for Alleged Violations of Children’s Privacy Law
  • Five Companies Settle FTC Allegations That They Falsely Claimed Participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
  • FTC Challenges Proposed Merger of Hydrogen Peroxide Producers
  • FTC Requires Divestitures and Imposes Conditions on Boston Scientific Corp.’s Acquisition of BTG plc
  • FTC Seeks Comments on Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule
  • FTC to Hold Workshop on Made in USA Advertising and Marketing Claims
July
  • FTC Imposes Historic $5 Billion Penalty and Sweeping New Privacy Restrictions on Facebook; Also Sues Cambridge Analytica, Settles with Former CEO and App Developer
  • Equifax to Pay $575 Million as Part of Settlement with FTC, CFPB, and States Related to 2017 Data Breach
  • FTC Takes Action Against Companies Falsely Claiming to Participate in Cross-Border Data Privacy Arrangements
  • G7 Competition Authorities Adopt Common Understanding on Competition and the Digital Economy
  • El Salvador’s Defensoría del Consumidor Joins econsumer.gov
June
  • Qualcomm’s Licensing Practices Violate Antitrust Laws
  • FTC Staff Report on Branded Drug Firms’ Patent Settlements with Generic Competitors Shows Decrease in Reverse Payments
  • Canon and Toshiba Pay $5 Million for Violating Pre-Merger Notification Waiting Period
  • FTC Adds Latvian Payment Processor and Its CEO to “Free Trial” Litigation
May
  • International Competition Network Adopts Framework for Competition Agency Procedures; U.S. Agencies to Host 2020 Annual Conference
  • FTC Charges Surescripts with Illegal Monopolization of E-Prescription Markets
  • FTC and DOJ Meet with Officials from Japan and South Korea
  • Agencies from Nearly 20 countries Participate in 10th Annual African Consumer Protection Dialogue Conference
  • FTC Announces First Actions Exclusively Enforcing the Consumer Review Fairness Act
  • FTC to Host Meeting on Indian Call Center Fraud
  • Econsumer.gov Releases Top International Fraud Report Data for 2018
  • FTC Submits Comment on FDA Guidance Regarding Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products
April
  • FTC Holds Hearings on the Agency’s International Programs
  • FTC Chairman Releases 2018 Annual Highlights
  • FTC Signs Consumer Protection Memorandum of Understanding with United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority
  • FTC Releases 2018 Privacy and Data Security Update
  • FTC Sends Warning Letters to Companies Regarding Diamond Ad Disclosures
  • FTC Concludes that Impax Entered into Illegal Pay-for-Delay Agreement
March
  • FTC to Hold Hearings on the Agency’s Role in a Changing World
  • FTC Launches Technology Task Force
  • FTC Enters Global Settlement to Resolve Reverse-Payment Charges Against Teva
  • FTC Issues Modified Final Order Imposing Conditions on Merger of International Industrial Gas Suppliers Praxair, Inc. and Linde AG
  • Record Civil Penalty Imposed Against Operator of China-Based Video Social Networking App to Settle FTC Allegations That it Violated Children’s Privacy Law
  • FTC Brings First Case Challenging Fake Paid Reviews on an Independent Retail Website, Alleges Weight Loss Supplement Claims Were Deceptive
January/February
  • FTC Announces Hearings on International Engagement To Be Held in March
  • FTC Enforcement Actions Yield More than $2.3 Billion in Refunds to Consumers between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018
  • FTC Obtains Order Barring U.S. and Canadian Scammers from Marketing Internet-related Services and Misrepresenting Their Relationship with Consumers
  • FTC and FDA Send Warning Letters to Companies Selling Dietary Supplements Claiming to Treat Alzheimer’s and Other Diseases
  • New FTC Data Spotlight Details Big Jump in Losses, Complaints about Romance Scams
2018
December
  • FTC Hearings Turn to Issues of Common Ownership, Data Security, and Consumer Privacy
  • Court Halts International Internet Marketing Operation
  • FTC International Fellows Program Is Now Accepting Nominations for February and September 2019 Classes
  • Latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight Finds Seniors Sending Thousands in Cash to Scammers Claiming to be their Grandchildren
November
  • FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century Examine Emerging Issues Stemming from Technology and Innovation
  • MoneyGram Agrees to Pay $125 Million to Settle Allegations that the Company Violated Earlier Agreements
  • At FTC’s Request, Court Halts Massive “Sanctuary Belize” Real Estate Investment Scam
  • American Immigration Center Settles with FTC on Government Imposter Allegations
  • International Industrial Gas Suppliers Divest Assets in Nine Industrial Gas Markets as a Condition of Merger
  • FTC Chairman Joseph J. Simons Meets with Counterparts from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to Discuss Antitrust Enforcement
  • FTC and International Partners Hold First Annual International Charity Fraud Awareness Week
  • FTC is Making Consumer Complaint Data More Accessible
  • Econsumer.gov Consumer Education Video is Now Available in Seven Languages
October
  • FTC Team Receives Prestigious Public Service Award for Negotiating Historic Half-Billion Dollar Western Union Settlement to Redress Fraud-Induced Money Transfers
  • In Memoriam: Robert Pitofsky
  • FTC Reaches Settlements with Four Companies That Falsely Claimed Participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
  • FTC and DOJ Return a Record $505 Million in Monetary Redress to Consumers Harmed by Massive Payday Lending Scheme
  • Christine S. Wilson Sworn in as FTC Commissioner
  • Econsumer.gov Releases Top Complaint Categories for April to June
September
  • First FTC Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century Held Today with Additional Hearings Scheduled
  • Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction in Tronox/Cristal Merger
  • Hockey Puck Seller, Companies Selling Recreational and Outdoor Equipment Agree To Stop Making False ‘Made in USA’ Claims
  • FTC Welcomes New Foreign Fellows and Is Now Accepting Nominations for February 2019 Class
  • Econsumer.gov Consumer Education Video Is Now Available in Six Languages
August
  • Wilhelmsen Maritime Services Abandons Acquisition of Drew Marine Group
  • Grifols to Divest Assets as Condition of Acquiring Biotest US Corp
  • Search Cross-Border Complaint Trends in Your Country
  • FTC Testifies Before Two House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittees About the Agency’s Work to Combat Payment Processors Who Facilitate Fraud
July
  • FTC Announces Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century and Invites First Round of Comments by August 20
  • FTC, BBB, and Law Enforcement Partners Announce Results of Small Business Scam Law Enforcement and Education Initiative
  • California Company Settles FTC Charges Related to Privacy Shield Participation
  • FTC Hosts Semi-Annual Forum for Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities
  • Report International Scams to econsumer.gov Using Your Mobile Device
  • Court Rules that AbbVie Sham Litigation is Anticompetitive Monopolization and Orders $448 Million in Relief
  • FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Staff Submits Comment on Internet of Things and Consumer Product Hazards
June
  • FTC Imposes Conditions on Acquisition of Solid Rocket Motor Supplier
  • Administrative Law Judge Dismisses Complaint Against Generic Pharmaceutical Company
  • FTC Action Halts Massive International Internet Business Coaching Scheme
  • FTC Engages Public and Private Partners to Combat Indian Call Center Fraud
  • Econsumer.gov Releases Top Complaint Categories for January to March
May
  • FTC, FDA Take Action Against Companies Marketing E-liquids Resembling Children’s Juice Boxes, Candies, and Cookies
  • Mobile Phone Maker BLU Reaches Settlement with FTC over Deceptive Privacy and Data Security Claims
  • FTC Warns China-based and Sweden-based Companies that Online Services Might Violate COPPA
  • FTC Holds Workshop with ASEAN Consumer Protection Partners
  • Generic Drug Marketers Divest Rights to 10 Generic Medications as Condition of Merger
  • Scammers Impersonate Chinese Consulates
  • FTC and econsumer.gov Members Launch econsumer.gov Consumer Education Video in French, Korean, and Turkish (Subtitled)
April
  • FTC Acting Chairman Releases 2017 Annual Highlights
  • International Competition Network Adopts Guiding Principles for Procedural Fairness and New Recommendations for Merger Review
  • CDK Global Abandons Proposed Acquisition of Auto/Mate Following FTC Challenge
  • Uber Agrees to Expanded Settlement with FTC Related to Privacy, Security Claims
  • Acting Director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Issues Statement Regarding Reported Concerns About Facebook Privacy Practices
  • FTC Joins More Than 20 Countries at African Consumer Protection Dialogue Conference
  • FTC Shares Its Experience with Privacy and Data Security Experts in India
  • FTC Holds International Enforcers Roundtable
March
  • FTC Releases Annual Summary of Complaints Reported by Consumers
  • FTC to Provide Certified econsumer.gov Members Access to More Cross-Border Complaint Data
  • PayPal Settles FTC Charges that Venmo Failed to Disclose Information to Consumers on the Ability to Transfer Funds and on Privacy Settings; Violated Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
  • FTC Challenges Schemes That Target or Affect Senior Citizens in the U.S. and Abroad
  • FTC Closes Essilor/Luxottica Merger Investigation
  • FTC Challenges Proposed Merger of World’s Largest Suppliers of Water Treatment Chemicals and Services
February
  • Acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen Reports One Year of Agency Accomplishments
  • U.S. Officials Meet with Chinese Anti-Monopoly Agencies
  • FTC Requires Divestiture of Retail Fuel Outlets as Condition of Acquisition
  • Online Talent Search Company Settles FTC Allegations it Collected Children’s Information without Consent and Misled Consumers
  • Marketers Barred from Making Deceptive Claims about Products’ Ability to Mitigate Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
  • FTC Releases Annual Privacy and Data Security Update
  • FTC Posts Videos on Burdens of Unnecessary Occupational Licensing Requirements
January
  • FTC Returns $6.4 Billion in Refunds to Consumers
  • Electronic Toy Maker VTech Settles FTC Allegations That it Violated Children’s Privacy Law and the FTC Act
  • FTC and econsumer.gov Members Launch New econsumer.gov Consumer Education Video
  • Agency Releases Staff Report Summarizing FTC Consumer Research on Online Advertising
  • FTC Challenges Consummated Merger of Companies That Make Microprocessor Prosthetic Knees
  • FTC Requires Divestiture of Two Medical Device Product Lines as Condition of Merger
  • Canadian Fertilizer and Chemical Companies Divest Production Facilities as Condition of Merger
  • FTC Staff Perspective Recaps Workshop Examining Privacy, Security Issues Related to Connected Cars
  • FTC, FCC Outline Agreement to Coordinate Online Consumer Protection Efforts Following Adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order