ICFE eNEWS #17-18 - May 4th 2017
Penn News for April / May 2017
News from the Federal Trade Commission
Promoter Scammed, Threatened Inventors, FTC Says
charged World Patent Marketing
with deceiving people who paid it thousands to patent and market
their inventions. World Patent Marketing allegedly used fake
"success stories" and testimonials to lure consumers, strung
them along for months - even years - and ultimately didn't
deliver what it promised. The FTC said many people ended up in
debt or lost their life savings. And, says the FTC, when these
consumers complained, the company threatened to have them
prosecuted. A federal court has temporarily stopped the
Florida-based operation and frozen its assets. The FTC seeks to
make this shutdown permanent and return money to consumers.
"This case is about protecting innovators, the engine of a
thriving economy. The defendants promised to promote people's
inventions and took thousands of dollars, but provided almost no
service in return. Then they added insult to injury by
threatening people who complained."
- Maureen K.
Ohlhausen, Acting FTC Chairman, on World Patent Marketing case
FTC: Municipal Debt Collector Made Illegal
reached a settlement with
a company collecting debts for more than 500 municipalities.
American Municipal Services (AMS) allegedly made false threats
and misrepresented itself to get people to pay court fines,
parking tickets, and other debts. The FTC says AMS threatened
people with arrest, having their driver's licenses suspended,
their vehicles impounded, and their debts reported to credit
bureaus. But, according to the complaint, AMS had no authority
to jail people and didn't know if municipalities actually
planned to take these actions. In addition to stopping these
activities, the order requires AMS to give up collection fees it
obtained using these tactics.
Used Auto Dealers Allegedly Downplayed Recalls
CarMax, Asbury Automotive Group and West-Herr Automotive Group
settled FTC charges that,
while boasting how thoroughly they inspect their used cars, the
companies did not adequately disclose that some of the cars were
subject to safety recalls. The FTC got a court order prohibiting
the companies from misrepresenting key facts about the safety of
the vehicles they advertise. The companies also must tell people
how they can determine a vehicle's recall status and inform
customers that vehicles purchased as far back as July 1, 2013
may be subject to open recalls.
FTC Says Online Marketers Deceived Shoppers
charged an online marketing group
with baiting consumers by promising "free" and "risk-free"
trials for merchandise and subscription services, only to later
charge them for related fees without their consent. According to
the FTC, the defendants asked for people's credit card
information - ostensibly to cover shipping and handling charges
for the "free" merchandise and services. But, the complaint
alleges, the companies deceived consumers by not making it clear
they would charge consumers' cards if they did not cancel the
"free trial" or return the "free" products. The FTC says the
marketers also misrepresented their return, refund and
DaVita Will Sell Clinics to Settle FTC Charges
National dialysis chain DaVita, Inc.
will sell seven clinics -
five in New Jersey and two near Dallas, Texas - to settle FTC
charges that its $358 million acquisition of competitor Renal
Ventures Management, LLC would lead to higher prices or poorer
service for dialysis patients in those areas. Hemodialysis is a
life-saving therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease,
many of whom are very ill, making it difficult for them to
travel too far from their homes for treatment. As a result,
competition between dialysis clinics in local areas is important
to keep prices down and service levels high. To preserve
competition, DaVita agreed to sell clinics located in Brick,
Clifton, Somerville, Succasunna, and Trenton, New Jersey, and in
the Dallas-area markets of Denton and Frisco.
Amazon In-App Case Ends; Refund Process to Start
The FTC and Amazon.com Inc.
agreed to end litigation
around last year's court findings that the company billed
consumers for unauthorized in-app charges. This decision enables
the consumer refund process to begin in the coming months. More
than $70 million in charges may be eligible for refunds.
FTC Releases 2016 Annual Highlights
Returning nearly $12 billion to consumers and taking on more
than a dozen merger cases to preserve a competitive marketplace
are among the FTC's many
accomplishments in 2016.
The agency's Annual Highlights give an overview of its work in
protecting consumers over the previous year.
Sage Auto Group Will Pay $3.6 Million to Settle
Los-Angeles-based Sage Automotive Group
agreed to pay more than $3.6 million
in redress to consumers to settle FTC charges that it used
deceptive sales and financing practices, advertising, and online
Your Money Back
Rincon Management Refunds
The FTC is mailing
5,232 checks totaling more than $2.7 million to people who lost
money to Rincon's
debt collection scheme.
People are getting back the full amount of fraudulent fees the
company imposed, an average of $525.
Fair Guide Business Directory Refunds
is mailing 974 checks totaling more than $535,000 to businesses
and nonprofit organizations that lost money to the
Fair Guide business directory scheme,
which tricked them into paying for online directory listings
they didn't want. Organizations that lost money are getting back
an average of $549.
Payday Support Center Refunds
The FTC is
mailing 561 checks totaling more than $148,000 to people who
lost money to Payday Support Center,
a debt relief scheme that
targeted people with outstanding payday loans. Per a federal
court order, defendants may no longer promote or sell debt
relief services. People who lost money will get back an average
FTC Testifies Before Senate on
Efforts to Combat Fraud
Membership Reward Service Upromise
Penalized for Violating FTC Order
Office Supply Operators Banned from
Telemarketing to Settle FTC Charges
FTC Returns Money to Victims of Debt
It's illegal for #DebtCollectors
to lie or harass you. Read how the law protects you from debt
"Free" trials can wind up costing you big. The #FTC has tips on
avoiding #HiddenCosts behind free trial offers.
Looking to start a business? Great! Just be sure to spot and
avoid #BusinessScams and empty promises of help.
Before you buy a car, check it out thoroughly for recalls and
other safety issues. #BuyingaVehicle