ICFE eNEWS #15-13 - Apr 16th 2015
Crackdown On Deceptive Car Dealers
The FTC and 32 partners in the U.S. and Canada announced
Operation Ruse Control,
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
BMW 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
The FTC filed a complaint against FTC Credit Solutions, 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 scores.
LeadClick's Misleading Product Claims
According to the FTC, an affiliate marketing network called
was 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
The 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
Hawaii's Gas Prices Stay Competitive
Par 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?
Do 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
— 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 more information.
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
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, with tips from the FTC.
- Applying for a job? Check out the FTC's newly revised
brochure for answers to common questions.
ICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting the ICFE's
and filling out the contact form, selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List."
Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and
invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site:
Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)
ICFE - Institute of Consumer Financial Education -