FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 7 - Number 5
IN THIS ISSUE
DO NOT CALL. Telephone numbers will remain on the National Do Not Call Registry permanently, thanks to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act, which became law in February. The FTC will continue to remove telephone numbers that have been disconnected and reassigned. Consumers can delete their phone numbers from the registry any time by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the telephone number they wish to delete. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/04/dncfyi.shtm.
SEASILVER. A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling requiring the marketers of the dietary supplement, Seasilver, to pay almost $120 million. The defendants, Jason and Bela Berkes and their companies, didn't comply with an earlier order to pay $3 million in consumer redress. According to the FTC, the defendants falsely claimed that Seasilver was clinically proven to treat or cure 650 diseases, including cancer and AIDS, and cause rapid, substantial, and permanent weight loss without dieting. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/04/seasilver.shtm.
TELEMARKETER BANNED. On behalf of the FTC, a federal court has banned Brian MacGregor, the architect of a fraudulent telemarketing scheme, from ever engaging in any aspect of telemarketing and ordered him and his company to pay $28.2 million. According to the FTC, consumers wrongfully paid monthly fees for "program memberships" in discount buyers’ and travel clubs and were falsely promised free gifts. Consumers who lost money should write to: Federal Trade Commission, attn.: Faye Chen Barnouw, 10877 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90024. The letter should identify the company that took their money, including the dates and amounts of the withdrawals, and documentation. For more information, consumers may call the case hotline at 202-326-2090. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/04/walmartscam.shtm.
FAL$E HOPE$ CASE. Lifestyle Vending, Inc., and its owners, Michael Eisenberg and Maryann McCulloh, have agreed to settle FTC charges that they misled consumers into paying up to $10,000 for a vending machine business. The defendants told consumers that they could earn $50,000 a year through the purchase of 30 candy vending machines, but they had no substantiation for their claim. This case was brought as part of Project FAL$E HOPE$, an FTC-led effort that targeted bogus business opportunities and work-at-home scams, and produced more than 100 law enforcement actions by the FTC, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and law enforcement agencies in 11 states. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/04/lsvending.shtm.
The FTC will host the following events, which are free and open to the public, at the FTC's Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. A government-issued ID is required for entry.
MOBILE MARKETPLACE. This meeting, to be held May 6-7, will explore consumer protection issues in mobile and wireless commerce. A live webcast will be available at www.ftc.gov. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/02/townhall.shtm.
HEALTH CARE: CLINICAL INTEGRATION. This May 29 workshop will explore collaborations among health care providers to improve health care services and costs. It is part of the Commission’s effort to study how the health care industry protects consumers from anticompetitive conduct, and ensures that legitimate efficiency-enhancing ventures aren’t discouraged. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/03/checkup.shtm.
The FTC and local partners host one-day "back to basics" workshops on complying with truth-in-advertising laws. "Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC-BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers" features a roster of national experts discussing the latest developments in advertising law for attorneys, business owners, and marketing executives. Seating is limited, so please register early. To learn more, visit www.ftc.gov/greenlights.
Nashville, Tennessee - Tuesday, May 13, 8:45 am to 3:30 pm, Tennessee Bar Association, 221 Fourth Avenue North. This workshop is sponsored by the FTC and the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General. The sponsors have applied for 3.5 hours of general Tennessee CLE credit and one hour of ethics and professionalism credit. The admission fee of $100 includes continental breakfast, lunch, and a CD of all workshop materials. For more information, visit ww.tba.org.
Dallas, Texas - Thursday, May 29, 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, Cityplace Conference Center Amphitheater, 2711 North Haskell Avenue. This workshop is sponsored by the FTC and Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, and presented in partnership with Southern Methodist University’s Temerlin Advertising Institute and Dedman School of Law. The sponsors have applied for 5.5 hours of Texas CLE credit. The admission fee of $90 ($100 for walk-in registration and $45 for students) includes continental breakfast, lunch, and a CD of all workshop materials. For more information, visit www.dallas.bbb.org/greenlights.
ENERGYGUIDANCE: APPLIANCE SHOPPING WITH THE ENERGYGUIDE LABEL. Explains how consumers shopping for an appliance can use EnergyGuide labels to compare the energy use of different models. Includes a sample label. 8.5"x11", 3 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea14.shtm.
ADVANCE-FEE LOAN SCAMS: 'EASY' CASH OFFERS TEACH HARD LESSON. Provides tips on how to spot a scam and avoid losing your money. Rule number one: Legitimate lenders never "guarantee" or say that you are likely to get a loan or a credit card before you apply, especially if you have bad credit, no credit, or a bankruptcy. 8.5"x11", 2 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel16.shtm.
CÓMO RECONOCER UN RESCATE HIPOTECARIO FRAUDULENTO (HOW TO RECOGNIZE A FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAM). Explains foreclosure rescue scams and where consumers can find legitimate help. ww.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/articles/snaps31.pdf.
The FTC has released three 60-second videos to help alert consumers to phishing scams. Phishing uses deceptive spam to trick consumers into divulging sensitive or personal information, including credit card numbers and other financial data, through an email or a link to a "copycat" site.
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
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