ICFE
ICFE eNEWS #10-29 - September 10th 2010

FTC News FOR THE CONSUMER, Vol 9 No 9 September 2010

NEWS FLASH

CHANGE. For the Consumer is getting a makeover --- you'll get the same news you can use but with a fresh feel and a new title: Penn Corner. Watch for the first issue, emailed to you in October.

ENDORSEMENTS. A public relations agency will settle FTC charges that it deceptively advertised its clients' video games. According to the FTC, Reverb Communications, Inc., and its owner, Tracie Snitker, didn't disclose that its employees were posing as ordinary people posting game reviews at the iTunes store. The phony reviews also never revealed that the company and its owner often got a percentage of the sales. Read the press release.

HEALTH CARE HUSTLE. The FTC and law enforcers in 24 states have filed a total of 54 lawsuits and regulatory actions to stop deceptive operations that scammed people in the market for help paying their medical costs. The federal-state coalition of law enforcement agencies said these businesses fraudulently marketed "medical discount plans" as health insurance. Read the press release.

AUTO WARRANTIES. The FTC has settled its charges against Damian Kohlfeld, a telemarketer who blasted people in the U.S. with millions of illegal auto "warranty" robocalls. The defendants claimed to be affiliated with car dealerships or manufacturers and told people that their auto warranty was expiring. Kohlfeld and his two firms will pay close to $2.3 million and are barred from telemarketing. Read the press release.

ACAI SUPPLEMENTS. At the FTC's request, a U.S. district court has ordered the marketers of acai berry supplements to temporarily stop an online sales scheme that netted them $30 million. According to the FTC, Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc., falsely advertised AcaiPure as a weight-loss product and Colopure as a cancer-prevention supplement. Read the press release.

COMPUTER CHIPS. Intel Corp. agreed to settle FTC charges that it used its monopoly in computer chips to stifle competition. The FTC settlement, which applies to central processing units (CPU), graphics processing units (GPU), and chipsets, prohibits Intel from using unreasonable tactics to exclude competition or otherwise inhibit the sale of rival CPUs and GPUs, or from deceiving computer manufacturers about the performance of non-Intel CPUs and GPUs. Read the press release.

EYE TO EYE. Novartis AG has settled FTC charges that its proposed acquisition of Alcon, Inc., would be anticompetitive. Novartis must sell its drug, Miochol-E --- an injectable eye care drug used in cataract surgery --- to Bausch & Lomb, Inc. Novartis and Alcon are the only U.S. providers of this class of drugs. Read the press release.

DOMAIN NAMES. The FTC has stopped the operations of Canadian con artists who posed as domain name registrars. Internet Listing Service Corp. allegedly convinced thousands of people, small businesses, and non-profit organizations to pay bogus bills by leading them to believe they would lose their website addresses unless they paid. Read the press release.


TESTIMONY

SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

Alice Saker Hrdy, Assistant Director in the FTC's Division of Financial Practices, testified at a Committee field hearing in Kansas City, Missouri about the FTC's increased efforts to stop fraudulent financial schemes that exploit people. In the past seven years, the FTC has brought 23 lawsuits against credit counseling firms that are sham nonprofits, debt settlement services, and debt negotiators.


NEW INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS

Platinum: It's All in the Number. Explains advertising claims about and markings on jewelry that indicate its platinum content and value.

Selling a Timeshare Through a Reseller: Contract Caveats. Gives questions to ask when selling your timeshare through real estate brokers and agents who specialize in reselling timeshares.


TIP OF THE MONTH - HEALTH CARE HUSTLE: Medical Discount Plans

Do you know anyone looking for health insurance? Tell them to make sure that's what they're buying, or they could find themselves on the hook for big medical bills with no way to pay them. That's because what sounds like affordable health insurance may be a medical discount plan instead. Medical discount plans can be a way for some people to save money on their health care costs, but discount plans aren't health insurance. Some medical discount plans provide legitimate discounts; others take peoples' money and offer very little in return. Many plans don't include local providers or give you outdated lists of names and facilities. Some offers are just plain scams. To learn more, visit medical discount plans. Share the FTC's free resources with your constituents; distribute copies of the flyer or bookmark, use the information in your newsletter, post tips on your website, and share them with your social network.


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Sent by:

Paul Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)


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