Showing posts from August, 2021

FTC Sends Refund Checks to People Targeted in Computer Financing Scheme

The Federal Trade Commission is sending 4,505 checks to people who lost money in a financing scheme that targeted customers shopping for computers and related electronic devices. In 2008, the FTC alleged that BlueHippo Funding, LLC and affiliate BlueHippo Capital, LLC promised to finance new computers, collected money from customers, and then failed to provide them with computers. The Commission also alleged that the two companies failed to disclose key terms of BlueHippo’s refund policy to customers prior to their making payments. After agreeing to a settlement with the FTC, BlueHippo continued to engage in deceptive practices. In 2009, the FTC sued the companies again, as well as CEO and sole owner Joseph Rensin, charging them with contempt for violating the 2008 order. The FTC won a lengthy court battle , and is now using the money it recovered from Rensin to provide more than $103,000 in refunds to consumers. People who receive checks should deposit or cash them within 90 da

FTC, Georgia Attorney General Sue Stem Cell Institute of America Co-Founders for Deceptive Joint Pain Cure-All Marketing Scheme

Defendants targeted seniors and retirement communities with misleading health claims about stem cell therapy and charged up to $5,000 per joint injection The Federal Trade Commission and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office today sued the co-founders of the Stem Cell Institute of America for marketing stem cell therapy to seniors nationwide using bogus claims that it is effective in treating arthritis, joint pain, and a range of other orthopedic ailments. The agencies’ complaint also alleges that the Canton, Georgia-based defendants promoted the false or unsubstantiated claim that stem cell therapy is comparable or superior to surgery, steroid injections, and painkillers, and that they provided chiropractors and other healthcare practitioners with the means of deceiving consumers about such treatments. “These defendants advertised expensive stem cell injections with baseless pain-relief claims, and provided marketing materials and training to chiropractors to do the same,” said Samue

Federal Trade Commission Sending Refunds to More than 31,000 Consumers Allegedly Defrauded by Online Training Academy

Over $5.4 million being distributed to buyers of deceptive investment training scheme The Federal Trade Commission is sending checks totaling more than $5.4 million to 31,144 consumers who lost money after buying into an allegedly deceptively marketed investment training scheme offered by California-based Online Trade Academy (OTA) and its founder and CEO. According to the FTC’s February 2020 complaint , OTA used false or unfounded earnings claims to sell “training programs” costing as much as $50,000. The Commission alleged that OTA made misleading claims that anyone could use its patented “strategy” to generate substantial income from trading in the financial markets and claimed this strategy could generate income in any market condition. Additionally, the complaint alleged OTA “instructors”— salespeople on commission who marketed OTA’s training and strategy in live events across the country— often falsely held themselves out as successful traders who had amassed substantial wea

FTC Urges Federal Reserve Board to Require Debit Card Gatekeepers to Compete Fairly

As mobile and electronic payments become the norm, Commission staff advocate for more competition to protect businesses and families from unfair fees The Federal Trade Commission announced that staff have submitted a comment urging the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Fed)  to clarify and strengthen the implementation of debit card fee and routing reforms to the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) made under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank). According to a 2019 study , Americans use debit cards almost twice as often as credit cards. Merchants, including millions of small businesses, must pay fees to card issuers, usually banks, and card networks like Visa and Mastercard, in order to accept debit cards. But merchants cannot select low-fee networks unless the issuer enables those networks. Typically, merchants work with payment processing companies to ensure that they get paid. When merchants pay high fees to accept payments, this can lead

FTC Sues FleetCor and Its CEO for Fleecing Small Businesses With Mystery Fuel Card Fees

Files administrative complaint aimed at recouping hundreds of millions lost by customers lured by false promises of fuel savings The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint against FleetCor and its CEO, Ronald Clarke, for charging customers hundreds of millions of dollars in mystery fees associated with fuel cards. FleetCor, marketing under the “Fuelman” brand name and through co-branded cards with businesses around the country, falsely told its business customers that they would save money, be protected from unauthorized charges, and have no set-up, transaction, or membership fees. In reality, according to FleetCor’s own records, customers generally have not achieved the advertised per-gallon savings by using FleetCor’s cards. The FTC filed suit in federal court against FleetCor and Clarke in December 2019 , alleging that they charged hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden and undisclosed fees to their customers after making false promises they could save c

Everymedia Technologies acquires

Everymedia Technologies acquires stake in UK-based Digital Solutions Agency- Plus 1 Digital. Everymedia has acquired Digimile Media Pvt. Ltd., a digital marketing agency that focuses on the flagship module of Agency Alternate. Founded in 2009, Everymedia Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a full-service integrated marketing communications company and has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, San Diego, Dubai and London.

Aristotle Removed from List of FTC-Approved Children’s Privacy Self-Regulatory Programs

Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Aristotle International, Inc. (Aristotle) has been removed from the list of self-regulatory organizations that police for compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Operators of websites and online services that paid Aristotle fees to participate in its self-regulatory program can no longer receive favorable regulatory treatment. “The FTC will no longer allow self-regulatory organizations to flout their obligations under Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act rules. Aristotle will no longer be recognized by the FTC as an approved Safe Harbor program,” said Samuel Levine, Acting Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. “There is a clear conflict of interest when self-regulatory organizations are funded by the website operators and app developers they are supposed to police, so we will be closely scrutinizing other children’s privacy oversight outfits to determine whether they are living up t

Refunds Coming to Consumers Who Bought Deceptively Marketed Willow Curve Device

FTC is returning more than $350,000 to nearly 23,000 consumers nationwide The Federal Trade Commission is sending refund checks totaling more than $350,000 to consumers who bought Willow Curve, a device that applies low-level light and, according to the agency, was deceptively advertised as an effective way to relieve pain. According to an FTC complaint filed in June 2020 , the defendants behind Willow Curve touted it as a “smart” device that was FDA-approved and “clinically proven” to relieve pain and reduce inflammation for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage, torn tendons and any number of other serious conditions, without scientific evidence to support these claims. Nearly 23,000 consumers are receiving $15.35 each through the settlement. Analytics, Inc., the refund administrator in this case, is mailing checks today. People who receive checks should deposit or cash them within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Consumers who have que