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 7
IN THIS ISSUE
CREDIT COUNSELING. Consumer Credit Foundation (CFA) and related parties will pay nearly $1 million in consumer redress and civil penalties to settle FTC charges that they made false claims about their debt management program and violated the Do Not Call (DNC) provisions of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). According to the FTC, CFA, a credit counseling service, sold debt management services nationwide through unsolicited pre-recorded messages left on home telephones, falsely claimed that consumers were pre-approved for a program to consolidate their credit card debts to a single monthly payment at a much lower interest rate, and encouraged them to enroll in a debt management plan, regardless of their individual circumstances. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/06/cfa.htm
DO NOT CALL. A seller of discount health and prescription drug cards -- and its telemarketer -- will pay $300,000 and $50,000 in civil penalties respectively to settle FTC charges that they violated the DNC provisions of the TSR. This is the Commission’s first case to highlight the application of the DNC provisions to corporate affiliates. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/06/phaseone.htm
WHOIS ON FIRST? The FTC has told the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that access to the Whois databases is “critical to the agency’s consumer protection laws, to other law enforcement agencies around the world, and to consumers.” Access to the WHOIS databases, which contain information about website operators, is in question because an ICANN advisory body recommended limiting access to “technical purposes only.” Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/06/icann.htm
GRAND THEFT AUTO. The makers of the video game, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," settled charges by the FTC that they failed to disclose important information about the game’s content to consumers, namely that it contained potentially viewable nude female characters and a potentially playable sex mini-game. Sophisticated players posted a program on the Internet, dubbed “Hot Coffee,” that revealed this content on the PC version of the game.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/06/grandtheftauto.htm
Test your knowledge of ratings for video and computer games at: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/multimedia/quizzes/ratings/esr_quiz_content.html
NEW FACE AT THE FTC. FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras has named Jeanne Bumpus as the FTC's Director of Congressional Relations. Bumpus was most recently Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and also served as Staff Director and General Counsel for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/06/bumpus.htm
Q&A FOR TELEMARKETERS AND SELLERS ABOUT THE DO NOT CALL PROVISIONS OF THE FTC'S TELEMARKETING SALES RULE. Updated answers to industry's questions on the National Do Not Call Registry, including coverage, how to access the registry, and how to pay for access. 8.5"x11", 9 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/alerts/alt129.htm
Whether you're drawn to the beauty of turquoise jewelry or the earth tones of Indian pottery, knowing something about American Indian arts and crafts can help you get the most for your money. A few unscrupulous sellers misrepresent imitation arts and crafts as genuine, even though it's a violation of the law to state or imply falsely that the product is made by an Indian or is the product of a particular tribe. The FTC offers these tips to help you shop wisely:
Buy from an established dealer who will give you a written guarantee or written verification of authenticity.
Get a receipt that includes all the vital information about the value of your purchase, including any verbal representations.
Before buying at powwows, annual fairs, juried competitions, and other events, check the event requirements for information about the authenticity of the products being offered for sale.
Check out the Indian Arts and Crafts Board for more information about the regulations governing Indian arts and crafts: visit www.iacb.doi.gov or call their toll-free number, 1-888-ART-FAKE.
For more FTC tips on buying genuine American Indian products, visit: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro12.shtm.
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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