FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 5 - Number 1
IN THIS ISSUE
$5.3 MILLION CIVIL PENALTY. Satellite television provider DIRECTV will pay more than $5.3 million to settle the FTC's charges it violated Do Not Call (DNC) provisions of the Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). This was the largest civil penalty the FTC had announced to date in a case enforcing any consumer protection law.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/12/directv.htm
$1.5 MILLION CONSUMER REDRESS. The FTC has settled charges against an operation that allegedly ran a pyramid scheme and used deceptive practices to promote its multi-level marketing program. The settlement requires the company to pay about $1.5 million in consumer redress. Three of the defendants, who had been top distributors for Equinox International, another multi-level marketing firm sued by the FTC in 1999, are permanently banned from the multi-level marketing industry.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/12/trekall.htm
DATA-SECURITY. Shoe discounter DSW Inc. has agreed to settle the FTC's charges that its failure to take reasonable security measures to protect sensitive customer data was an unfair practice violating federal law. DSW’s data-security failure allowed hackers to gain access to the credit card, debit card, and checking account information of more than 1.4 million customers. The settlement requires DSW to implement a comprehensive information-security program, including audits by an independent third-party security professional every other year for 20 years. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/12/dsw.htm
The "INSIDE" STORY. The FTC is offering energy conversation tips to help consumers save money in every room of the house. Saving Starts @ Home: The Inside Story on Conserving Energy, at www.ftc.gov/energysavings, offers information on cutting utility costs in the attic, kitchen, living room, utility room, trash room and garage. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/12/fyi0583.htm
NEW COMMISSIONERS. William Kovacic and Thomas Rosch will be sworn in as the FTC's newest Commissioners in January. Kovacic fills a seat vacated in June by Commissioner Orson Swindle; Rosch replaces Commissioner Thomas B. Leary.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/12/commconfirm.htm
KNEE DEEP IN DEBT. Tips on getting back in the black and options if you, or someone you know, is in financial hot water. (8.5"x11", 6 pages, color.) www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre19.shtm
FISCAL FITNESS: CHOOSING A CREDIT COUNSELOR. Defines debt repayment plans, explains the difference between secured and unsecured debt, and offers questions to ask credit counseling agencies if you consider using their services. (8.5"x11", 4 pages, color.) www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre26.shtm
FOR PEOPLE ON DEBT MANAGEMENT PLANS: A MUST-DO LIST. Steps to take if the credit counselor handling your DMP has gone out of business, including a list of questions to ask when choosing a credit counselor. (8.5"x11", 4 pages, color.)
SAVING ENERGY -- MORE ON THE INSIDE STORY. Want to direct your constituents to the FTC's energy conservation tips? Link to the FTC's new "Saving Starts @ Home" website. Download the buttons at:www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer/partners_buttons.html
Every year, National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) highlights consumer protection and education efforts around the country. The eighth annual NCPW, which takes place February 5-11, 2006, proclaims "Consumer Protection: It's the Name of the Game."
The NCPW website features a series of interactive tests and quizzes, The Grand Scam Challenge, to test your own consumer IQ. Take The Grand Scam Challenge, and then, tell your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and constituents about it. The site has information from federal, state, and local government agencies, and national consumer advocacy organizations. Use it to promote NCPW in your district -- at town hall meetings, county fairs, community events, or schools. Or use some of the questions on your Member's website or constituent newsletter. The Outreach Toolkit has promotional materials you can use and download.
Hit a grand slam -- not a grand scam! Take the Grand Scam Challenge or download the Toolkit at: www.consumer.gov/ncpw
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
Check out the CONGRESSIONAL RESOURCES portion of our website at
www.ftc.gov/ftc/congress.shtm. No password needed to access.
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