FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 6 - Number 9
IN THIS ISSUE
XENADRINE REFUNDS. As part of its settlement with the makers of Xenadrine EFX, the FTC is accepting refund requests from consumers who bought the product. The FTC alleged that Xenadrine EFX was advertised with false and unsubstantiated weight-loss claims. Consumers who bought Xenadrine EFX between February 1, 2002, and May 22, 2006, and weren't satisfied, can request a refund either by downloading a claim form at www.XenadrineEFXsettlement.com or by calling 1-800-560-6435 to request a claim form by mail. Consumers must mail the completed, signed form to the Claims Administration Center by September 15. The amount of the refund will depend on the number of consumers who request one. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/08/fyi07259.shtm
HEALTH CARE COMPETITION. According to the FTC, three hospitals near Evanston, Illinois have charged higher prices for hospital services since their 2000 merger. The Commission agreed with an administrative judge that the merger violated antitrust laws, but rather than requiring the hospitals to separate, the Commission ordered the hospitals to set up two independent negotiating teams to restore competition when bargaining with health insurers. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/08/evanston.shtm
NEW ENERGY GUIDE LABEL. After a two-year review of public comments and consumer research, the FTC has amended the Appliance Labeling Rule to improve the design and content of the EnergyGuide label required on most new appliances. The streamlined label should help consumers compare the energy efficiency of different appliance models and assess the trade-offs between the energy costs of their appliances and other expenses. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/08/energy.shtm
CRAMMING. The FTC has settled its charges against the operators of a scheme which allegedly crammed unauthorized charges for website services onto the phone bills of hundreds of thousands of small businesses and non-profits. As part of the settlement, Websource Media, L.P. and its related entities will pay more than $1.2 million. The agency alleged that the telemarketers offered a "free" 15-day trial of a website design. The defendants made "verification recordings" that falsely implied that consumers agreed to be billed for the offer after the free trial. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/08/websource.shtm
DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES. The FTC will host a workshop October 10-11 to examine how changes in the debt collection industry have affected consumers and businesses. Consumer advocates, industry representatives, and regulators will discuss the way technology and economic trends have changed how consumer debts are collected, and the extent to which the law has kept pace with developments during the past 30 years. The workshop is free and open to the public; it will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/03/fdcpawkshop.shtm
COOKIES, CRUMBS, AND CLICKS. The FTC will host a two-day Town Hall for consumer advocates, technology experts, and academics to address the consumer protection issues raised by the practice of "behavioral advertising," the tracking of consumers’ activities online to target advertising that reflects the consumer’s interests. Behavioral advertising involves the collection of information such as the searches the consumer has conducted, the webpages visited, and the content viewed. The Town Hall, which is free and open to the public, will be held November 1-2, 2007 at the FTC Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/08/ehavioral.shtm
HELPING EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS: YOUR GUIDE TO GIVING WISELY. Alert provides tips for consumer who want to help victims of the earthquake in Peru. 8.5"x11", 1 page. English: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt165.shtm and Spanish: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/salt165.shtm
You encrypt your data, and you’re too smart to fall for those emails that ask for your personal information. But what about the laptop itself? A minor distraction is all it takes for your laptop to vanish. If it does, you may lose more than an expensive piece of hardware. The fact is, if your data protections aren’t up to par, that sensitive and valuable information in your laptop may be a magnet for an identity thief.
In addition to helpful tips, OnGuardOnline.gov offers a game, "Mission: Laptop Security," that quizzes computer users on safe practices. See if you know the tricks and tips to reduce the chance that your laptop will be stolen. Play "Mission: Laptop Security" at www.onguardonline.gov.
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