ICFE eNEWS #16-37 - November 2nd 2016
Penn Corner October 2016 - Update from the Federal Trade Commission
FTC Wins Record $1.3 Billion Judgment
The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ruled that
a Kansas City-based payday lending operation
must pay $1.3
billion for deceiving borrowers and illegally charging them
hidden and inflated fees. The order stems from a 2012 FTC complaint,
which said that AMG Services, Inc. lied when they told borrowers
the company would charge them the loan amount plus a one-time finance
fee. Instead, AMG allegedly made multiple withdrawals from peoples'
bank accounts - charging a new finance fee each time - without disclosing
the actual costs of the loan. This is the largest litigated judgment
ever obtained by the FTC.
"This significant court judgment
demonstrates the FTC's determination to crack down on deceptive
payday lenders and the people who run them. No consumer should be
victimized by an unlawful scheme like this one, and it is especially
detestable when those who can least afford to be charged undisclosed
and inflated fees are the ones being targeted." - FTC Chairwoman
Edith Ramirez on the AMG Services, Inc. judgment
Court Stops Device Buyback Scheme
The FTC and the State of Georgia
obtained a court
order to temporarily freeze the assets of and stop Laptop and
Desktop Repair, LLC from allegedly deceiving people with bait-and-switch
tactics to buy back their electronic devices. According to the FTC,
the company cheated people out of millions by luring them in with
high-dollar offers for their smartphones, tablets and other devices,
only to give them far less. While the company implied people would
get the exact amount of the quote, it allegedly dropped the price
to as little as three percent of the quoted amount, even after people
sent their devices to the company.
Court Says Weight-loss Supplement Claims Were Misleading
A U.S. Appeals Court
upheld a lower
court ruling against an affiliate marketing group, compelling
them to pay $11.9 million for deceptively promoting LeanSpa, a weight-loss
supplement. At the FTC's urging, the court found that LeadClick
Media, LLC's network of affiliate marketers used fake news sites
to drive internet traffic to LeanSpa's website. The decision is
the first by a court of appeals holding the operator of an affiliate
marketing network liable for deception by third-party marketers.
FTC Says Healthcare Acquisition Would Reduce Competition
To settle FTC
charges that its acquisition would violate the antitrust laws,
a large non-profit health system in central Minnesota agreed to
release some physicians from "non-compete" contract clauses,
which would allow them to join competing practices. The FTC said
CentraCare's planned acquisition of SCMG would combine the two largest
providers of adult primary care, pediatric, and OB/GYN services
in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The proposed settlement permits the acquisition
to proceed, but lessens its potential anticompetitive effects by
requiring CentraCare to allow a number of physicians to leave the
health system and work for other local providers or establish a
new practice in the area, and to provide certain financial incentives
to a number of departing physicians.
Marketers of Joint Pain Supplement to Settle FTC Charges
Supple LLC agreed to
settle FTC charges
that it falsely claimed its supplement offered "clinically
proven" and "complete and long-lasting relief" from
joint pain - even in severe cases. The company heavily aired infomercials
featuring its founder and CEO, as well as an "impartial"
expert endorser who hosted the Supple infomercial - who happened
to be the CEO's ex-wife. But the FTC said there was no solid scientific
backing for their claims.
Court Stops Scheme Targeting Older People, Vets
At the FTC's urging, a federal court temporarily
shut down a telemarketing
scheme targeting older people and veterans. The six companies
running the scam - including Advertising Strategies, LLC; Internet
Solutions, LLC; Internet Resources Group, LLC, and others - allegedly
promised risk-free, huge returns on investments in e-commerce websites.
In the end, there was no payday, no returns, no refunds - and no
way to contact the company, which raked in over $9 million while
many people lost as much as $20,000.
FTC Charges L.A. Auto Group with Deceiving Customers
The FTC filed
a complaint against Sage Auto Group to stop its dealerships
from allegedly engaging in "yo-yo" financing, and to refund
money to the people who had been deceived. Sage dealerships allegedly
pressured customers - many who were financially strapped and didn't
speak English - into signing contracts to finance automobiles. The
FTC says Sage later told people their deals fell through and that
they would lose their down payments if they didn't sign new deals,
which included less favorable terms.
Your Money Back
One Technologies LP Refunds The FTC will return almost $20 million
to more than 145,000 people who were tricked by an online scheme
that promised "free" access to credit scores - but billed
people a recurring $29.95 monthly fee for credit monitoring they
never ordered. Direct Benefits Group Refunds The FTC is mailing
a second round of checks to people whom Direct Benefits Group deceptively
charged a monthly fee after they applied for payday loans online.
The FTC mailed the first round of checks in September 2015. Because
money remains in the fund, the FTC is mailing an additional 23,000
checks totaling nearly $990,000.
If you get a refund check
from the FTC, deposit or cash it within 60 days of the mailing date.
The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide account
information before refund checks can be cashed. Want information
about the FTC's refund program? Visit
IN OTHER NEWS:
Scammers Banned From Business Directory Business
FTC Releases Updated
Identity Theft Publications
What glitters isn't always gold - including some
investment deals. See what the FTC says about #investmentscams.
Thinking about a credit monitoring service? First learn what
you can do yourself. Start w/your free #creditreport.