ICFE eNEWS #15-32 - October 22nd 2015
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Penn News for October 2015
News from the Federal Trade Commission

Weight-loss Supplement Cut Down to Size

The FTC took action against Roca Labs, Inc. for making false and unproven claims about their weight-loss supplements, and unfairly intimidating people to keep them from sharing bad reviews online. According to the FTC's complaint, the company targeted people considering gastric bypass surgery by promising the same dramatic weight-loss results without surgery. The FTC says people who'd already paid several hundred dollars were told they'd have to pay even more money if they wrote negative reviews. And if they wrote a negative review anyway? People were sued by the company for the reviews, and had their sensitive health information exposed in public court documents, according to the FTC.

Vision App's Blind Spot

Carrot Neurotechnology, Inc. agreed to settle FTC charges that it deceived people with claims that its "Ultimeyes" video game app would improve their eyesight. According to the FTC, Ultimeyes ads said the game could improve someone's vision by 31%, two lines on the eye chart, and even "turn back the clock on your vision" and reverse "aging eye." But, says the FTC's complaint, the company doesn';t have enough scientific evidence to prove these claims, and it's deceptive to sell something based on claims that aren't backed by proper science.
"This case came down to the simple fact that 'Ultimeyes' promoters did not have the scientific evidence to support their claims that the app could improve users' vision. Health-related apps can offer benefits to consumers, but the FTC will not hesitate to act when health-related claims are not based on sound science."
- Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection

Fake Debt Collection Foiled

Broadway Global Master Inc. agreed to settle FTC charges that they illegally collected more than $5 million in payments for fake payday loan debts. According to the FTC, the company posed as law enforcement and fake government agencies, harassing people into paying debts they didn't owe by threatening to sue or arrest them, or tell their family or employers about the debt. The settlement bans Broadway Global Master from the debt collection business.

Pharma and Ortho Competition Preserved

In two settlements, the FTC preserved competition for generic medicines that treat ulcers and thyroid conditions, and for orthopedic devices used in ankle and toe joint replacements. Pharmaceutical companies Endo International and Par Pharmaceuticals agreed to divest rights and assets to two types of generic tablets to settle FTC charges that their merger likely would result in higher prices. In a separate order, the FTC required Wright Medical Group and Tornier N.V. to sell Tornier's rights and assets to its total ankle replacements and total silastic toe joint replacements to settle charges that their $3.3 billion merger would illegally reduce competition.

Updated Franchise Guide

Considering buying a franchise? A Consumer's Guide to Buying a Franchise is an updated FTC guide that explains how to evaluate your finances, abilities and goals. You will also find ideas for ways to shop for a franchise opportunity, key questions to ask, and an explanation of your rights. Visit ftc.gov/bulkorder for free copies.

Your Money Back

The FTC is returning money to people targeted by three different scams. If you get a check, deposit or cash it within 60 days of the mailing date. Want information about the FTC's refund program? Visit ftc.gov/refunds.

In the case of Direct Benefits Group LLC, a company that illegally debited people's bank accounts when they sought payday loans, the FTC is sending 64,607 checks totaling $1.5 million to people who lost money. The FTC says the company didn't disclose that they would use people's bank account information to charge them to enroll in unwanted programs.

The FTC is mailing 6,832 checks totaling more than $1.1 million to people who lost money with Independent Association of Businesses (IAB), a company that tricked people into buying fake health insurance. The FTC says that instead of health coverage, people got a trade association membership that supposedly gave discounts on identity theft protection, travel, and roadside assistance.

The FTC also is mailing 23,406 checks totaling more than $3.7 million to people who lost money to LeanSpa LLC, after buying acai berry and "colon cleanse" weight-loss products. According to the FTC, LeanSpa's deceptive weight-loss claims tricked people into thinking they could get free trials by paying small shipping and handling costs. Instead, the FTC says people paid $79.95 for the trial, plus more for ongoing monthly shipments that were hard to cancel.


Debt Relief Scammer Settles FTC Charges by Agreeing to $7.9 Million Judgment
Texas Auto Dealer Will Pay More Than $82,000 To Settle FTC Charges It Violated Fair Credit Reporting Act
FTC Action: Auto Dealership Will Pay $80,000 Penalty for Violating 2012 Order Prohibiting Deceptive Advertising of Vehicle Costs


October is #CyberAware month! Click for tips to keep you safe, secure and responsible online. http://go.usa.gov/3ukUP
New credit and debit #chipcards are coming to your wallet. The FTC has tips on what to know and how they work. http://go.usa.gov/3uJhB
The FTC has new #multilingual materials to help #refugees and #immigrants spot, avoid and #reportscams. http://go.usa.gov/3ukGd

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Sent by:

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

ICFE - Institute of Consumer Financial Education - ICFE.info - 619.239.1401