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Car dealer and marketing firm called out for bogus recall notices

Here’s something likely to make consumers start firing on all cylinders: receiving an “URGENT RECALL NOTICE” in the mail with a “warning” that their vehicle “may be under an important factory/safety recall.” But according to an FTC lawsuit against the Passport group of car dealerships in the Washington, D.C., area, the vast majority of people who received those notices didn’t have a vehicle subject to an open recall.

Anti-scammy Sammy

There’s former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar, NFL legend Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, and the incomparable Sammy Davis, Jr. All notable in their own right, but did they win back $586 million for defrauded consumers? We didn’t think so. That’s why we have another pick for the Sammy Hall of Fame.

Is the EU-US Privacy Shield framework in your compliance picture?

Four companies just entered into proposed agreements with the FTC to settle charges that they made misrepresentations about their participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The cases reflect the FTC’s continuing commitment to enforcing the framework. Two of the complaints also focus on a Privacy Shield obligation that may be worth more of your company’s attention.

$505 million back for payday loan customers – and two messages for business

For consumers who took out loans with online payday lender AMG, the company’s illegal tactics left many of them saying OMG. But finally there’s good news for AMG customers arriving in the form of $505 million in refund checks just mailed to people who borrowed money between January 2008 through January 2013. That’s the largest amount ever sent in a refund program run by the FTC.

Root, root root for the regions

This year eight major league baseball teams are celebrating milestone anniversaries – and so are the FTC’s regional offices. In 1918, the Commission opened the first three of its regional offices. Today, eight regional offices continue to knock it out the park on behalf of America’s consumers. So it’s only fitting that on this momentous day we acknowledge the regional offices’ century of pennant-winning performances.

New freeze law in effect September 21st: Is your business ready?

Thanks to a new federal law, free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st. What does that mean for your customers and employees?

Free credit freezes

Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in the consumer’s name. Starting September 21st, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit file for free. They also can get free freezes for their children.

FTC, puck seller, and backpack company face off on Made in USA claims

The FTC just announced a Made in USA hat trick: two proposed settlements and a final order arising from allegedly deceptive claims by a New York hockey puck seller, a California-based backpack business, and an online mattress company. The message for marketers? Given the importance of country-of-origin representations to many consumers, companies can expect the FTC to call offsides on misleading Made in USA claims.

Phantom debt collectors jump on the banned wagon

Court orders against 13 related corporate and individual defendants involved in a Georgia-based debt collection operation bring to mind the 1980s chart-topping group from Australia, Crowded House. That’s because now that Advanced Mediation Group’s enterprise has been shuttered, the FTC’s “house” of individuals and corporations banned for life from the debt collection industry just got a little more crowded.

Camouflaged commerce: What was going on at army.com?

Where do people go when considering careers in the military? Online, of course. Based on the search terms they selected, they often found themselves on sites like army.com, armyenlist.com, and similar URLs for other branches of the service. But according to an FTC complaint against Sun Key Publishing, Fanmail.com, and related defendants, what was going on behind the scenes of those sites will surprise you.

First Consumer Review Fairness case takes on promoter’s “big bucks on Amazon” claim

The marketers behind a purported money-making promotion called Sellers Playbook appear to have skipped the chapter about complying with federal and state consumer protection laws. That’s the allegation in a complaint filed by the FTC and the Minnesota Attorney General. In addition, it’s the FTC’s first case charging violations of the Consumer Review Fairness Act.

FTC alleges car dealers falsified consumers’ income on financing forms

Whether it’s a slimmer waist or an imaginary yacht superimposed in the background, we’re all familiar with the dramatic changes that retouching can make to a photo. A lawsuit the FTC has filed against Tate’s Auto Group and related companies alleges – among other things – that the defendants substantially “retouched” the financial circumstances of customers trying to finance cars.

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