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ICFE eNEWS #16-37 - November 2nd 2016

Penn Corner  - FTC update

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 ftc.gov/refunds

International Scammers Banned From Business Directory Business
FTC Releases Updated Identity Theft Publications
More >

What glitters isn't always gold - including some investment deals. See what the FTC says about #investmentscams. http://go.usa.gov/xkwmU
Thinking about a credit monitoring service? First learn what you can do yourself. Start w/your free #creditreport. http://go.usa.gov/xkQqU

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Sent by:

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.

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