ICFE eNEWS #15-13 - Apr 16th 2015
Crackdown On Deceptive Car Dealers
FTC and 32 partners in the U.S. and Canada announced Operation
a law enforcement sweep to protect people who buy or lease a car.
252 enforcement actions were brought against dishonest car dealers.
The charges ranged from deceptive advertising and criminal auto
loan application fraud, to odometer fraud, deceptive add-on loan
servicing fees, and deceptive marketing of car title loans. The
effort includes six new cases the FTC brought against companies
that tricked people with deceptive auto sales, financing and leasing.
BMW'S MINI Snafu
of North America LLC agreed
to settle the FTC's charges that the company told MINI owners they
would void their warranty unless they used MINI parts, and MINI
dealers, to do maintenance and repair work on their cars. According
to the FTC, this violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Under
the settlement, BMW will not threaten to void MINI owners' warranties
for using other parts and service providers. The settlement also
prohibits BMW from making unsupported claims that routine maintenance
by MINI dealers is the only way to ensure that a car will operate
safely or maintain its value.
FTC Credit Repair Impersonator Stopped
FTC filed a complaint against FTC
for deceiving people by claiming to be affiliated with the Federal
Trade Commission. The FTC says the company marketed bogus credit
repair services to people who speak Spanish, and then illegally
charged them fees before providing any service. According to the
real FTC, "FTC Credit Solutions" also falsely promised to remove
negative information from credit reports, and to improve credit
LeadClick's Misleading Product Claims
to the FTC, an affiliate marketing network called LeadClick
responsible for false claims made in a marketing scheme that sold
acai berry and "colon cleanse" weight-loss products. The FTC says
LeanSpa, which hired LeadClick to push its products, used a "free
trial" ploy to enroll people into a recurring - and hard-to-cancel
- $79.99 per month purchase program. The FTC says LeadClick's network
lured people to LeanSpa's online store by using fake news websites
with what appeared to be reviews and endorsements from journalists
and customers. The company was ordered to pay $16 million, which
will be used for customer refunds.
AdvaCAL Calcium Supplement Refunds
FTC mailed 17,606 refund checks totaling
almost $955,000 to people who lost money buying the AdvaCAL calcium
supplement marketed by Lane Labs-USA Inc. According to the FTC,
Lane Labs made false and unsubstantiated claims that AdvaCAL was
the only calcium supplement that could increase bone density. The
company also claimed that AdvaCAL was equal or better than prescription
drugs used to treat osteoporosis. Eligible customers who receive
the checks must cash them by May 18, 2015, or they will become void.
And remember, the FTC will never ask you to pay anything or give
personal information before you can cash a refund check.
Hawaii's Gas Prices Stay Competitive
Petroleum Corporation will
terminate its storage and throughput rights at a key gasoline terminal
in Hawaii, to settle FTC charges that its $107 million acquisition
of Mid Pac Petroleum, would reduce competition, and likely lead
to higher gasoline prices in Hawaii. According to the FTC, Par and
Mid Pac are two of only four companies that handle bulk supplies
of Hawaii-grade gasoline blendstock, which is gasoline before it
is blended with ethanol to make finished gasoline. By acquiring
Mid Pac's rights in a terminal located on Oahu, Par could impair
the ability of Aloha, the other company with terminal rights, to
Hacked Email? Hijacked computer?
you know what to do when your personal email gets hacked? How about
when malware hijacks your home computer? The FTC has two new videos
to help: Hacked
Email: What to Do and Hijacked
Computer: What to Do.
Use them yourself, or pass them on to friends and family. For more
information on about how to be safe, secure and responsible online,
"For most people, buying a car is one of the largest purchases
they'll make. Car ads must be truthful, loan terms must be clear,
and dealer practices must be honest. That's why our partners
are working together to crack down on deceptive marketing about
car sales, leasing and financing."
— Jessica Rich, Director
of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection
National Business Consultants, Inc. Refunds
The FTC sent 358 refund checks totaling
nearly $940,000 to people who lost money with National Business
Consultant's, Inc. business opportunity scheme. According to the
FTC, the company misled people about how much money they would make
as business or sales consultants, and how they would get assignments.
The FTC says the company also misled people about refunding deposits
to consultants, and provided false references. Visit the FTC's
refund page for
Not So Sleek Slimming Creams
The FTC is mailing 10,620 refund checks totaling
more than $416,000 to people who lost money buying two skin creams
marketed by L'Occitane, Inc. The FTC says the company falsely claimed
their Almond Beautiful Shape and Almond Shaping Delight skin creams
had clinically proven "body slimming" capabilities. Checks must
be cashed by May 19, 2015, or they will become void.
Hidden Fee in Money Back Guarantee
Network Solutions LLC,
a domain name registrar and web hosting provider, agreed to settle
charges after the FTC said the company misled people who bought
its web hosting service with a "30 Day Money Back Guarantee." According
to the complaint, although the company guaranteed people full refunds
if they canceled the services within 30 days, they did not clearly
disclose that they would withhold part of their refunds as a cancellation
IN OTHER NEWS:
- Did you receive a sweepstakes letter from the FTC? It's
a government imposter scam.Report
it to the FTC.
- April is financial literacy month. Make smart buying decisions
and save more money, withtips
from the FTC.
- Applying for a job? Check out the FTC's newly revised Background
Checks brochure for
answers to common questions.
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Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org
Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer
Financial Education (ICFE)
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.