ICFE eNEWS #16-30 - August 31st 2016
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FTC Says Mars Dog Food Ads Made Unsupported Health Claims
Mars Petcare US settled FTC charges that it made unfounded advertising claims about its dog food. The ads said a study showed that dogs eating Eukanuba dog food could live up to 30 percent longer. But the FTC says the study showed no difference between Labradors that ate Eukanuba and the general Lab population. The settlement orders Mars Petcare to stop making health claims without backing them with scientific proof.
"Two-thirds of all Americans have pets at home, and they spend billions of dollars to ensure that their pets are healthy and well-fed... Pet owners count on ads to be truthful and not to misrepresent health-related benefits."
- Jessica Rich, Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
Court Bans Company from Selling Health-Related Products
A federal judge ordered Health Care Association, Inc. (PIHC) and its owner to stop selling health products and stop telemarketing following 2014 FTC charges that the company lied when it sold medical discount cards. The FTC said the company targeted Spanish speakers and others seeking health insurance and tricked them into buying worthless medical discount cards. According to the FTC complaint, PIHC told people that its cards covered doctor and emergency room visits. But after spending up to hundreds dollars for the cards, people found they were worthless, the FTC says.
FTC Warns Companies About Zika Protection Claims
The FTC sent warning letters to 10 companies selling products claiming to repel or otherwise protect people from the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. The letters urged the companies to remove from marketing messages any health claims that aren't backed by scientific evidence. The letters also asked recipients to report back to the FTC, detailing the specific actions taken to remove or change potentially false, misleading, or unsupported claims.
1-800 Contacts' Actions Thwart Competitive Pricing, FTC Says
The FTC sued 1-800 Contacts for unlawfully orchestrating a web of anticompetitive agreements with other online contact lens sellers, causing some consumers to pay higher retail prices for contact lenses. According to the FTC, agreements between 1-800 Contacts and at least 14 of its rivals eliminated competition in auctions to place ads on the search results page generated by search engines such as Google and Bing. The FTC complaint alleges that these bidding agreements unreasonably restrain price competition in online search auctions, and restrict truthful and non-misleading advertising to consumers, constituting an unfair method of competition in violation of federal law. An administrative trial on the charges is set for April 2017.
The FTC Reminds VW and Audi Owners About Their Buyback Rights
Volkswagen will provide up to $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars as part of its settlement with the FTC. VW will buy back affected cars for thousands of dollars more than their current replacement value. People who own one of these cars should visit VWCourtSettlement.com to find out how much they can get through the buyback program, before they consider what may sound like a good offer from a potential buyer.
New Resources for People Reentering Society
The FTC has resources for people reentering society after incarceration. At the FTC's new Just for You: Reentry and Corrections page, people can learn about budgeting, finding a place to live, buying a car, managing money and credit, employment, background checks and more.
Your Money Back
$4 Million in Full Refunds for People Who Bought Fake Auto Warranties. The FTC mailed 5,970 full refund checks totaling more than $4 million on July 19 to people who were tricked into paying thousands of dollars for bogus "extended auto warranties" after allegedly being bombarded with robocalls by The Dolce Group Worldwide LLC.
FTC Persistence Leads to Refunds. More than 321,982 checks totaling nearly $9.7 million went out to victims of a credit card billing scam. The FTC sued J.K. Publications in 1999 for allegedly operating a scam that made unauthorized charges on people's credit and debit cards for supposed Internet services. The defendants moved millions of their ill-gotten gains offshore, making it difficult to locate and seize the money.
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.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Month of the Military Consumer
FTC Extends Comment Period for Public Input On Proposed Changes to the Fuel Economy Guide
FTC to Host FinTech Forum on Crowdfunding and Peer-to-Peer Payments on Oct. 26
Don't buy into the hype of miracle health products. Find out how to spot bogus claims. http://go.usa.gov/x2M2Y
Keep your business to yourself. Learn about protecting your #personalinformation. http://go.usa.gov/x2MB4
If you own or lease a 2.0-liter diesel #Volkswagen or #Audi, get all the facts about the #VWsettlement & #VWbuyback. http://go.usa.gov/xjdAw
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