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 11
IN THIS ISSUE
CLEAN SWEEP. The FTC and 24 state agencies and 22 states announced a crackdown on 33 operations that deceptively claimed they could remove negative information from consumers' credit reports, even if the information was accurate and timely. The FTC is trying to stop the defendants' allegedly unlawful business practices -- and make them pay consumer redress. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/opcleansweep.shtm.
RED FLAGS. The FTC will suspend enforcement of the new “Red Flags Rule” until May 1, 2009, to give creditors and financial institutions more time to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. Under the Red Flags Rule, financial institutions and creditors with covered accounts must have programs to identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, or specific activities that could indicate identity theft. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/redflags.shtm
SPAM -- A LOT. A U.S. district court has stopped a huge international spam network that sold prescription drugs and bogus male-enhancement products. The network has been called the largest “spam gang” in the world by the anti-spam organization Spamhaus: computer users have sent the FTC more than 3 million complaints about spam related to this network. At the FTC's request, the court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the defendants from spamming and making false product claims. The court froze the defendants’ assets, preserving them for consumer redress pending trial. Authorities in New Zealand, working with the FTC, also have sued. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/herbalkings.shtm.
IN CONTEMPT. A federal judge has banned Kevin Trudeau for three years from participating in infomercials for products or books in which he --- or anyone affiliated with him – has a financial interest. The court ordered him to pay more than $5 million in profits from sales of his book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About." The ruling confirmed an earlier contempt finding against Trudeau – the second time he has been found in contempt of court in the last four years. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/trudeau.shtm.
HARD TO HANDLE: The FTC moved to block the $85 million merger of CCS Corporation and Newpark Environmental Services, two waste disposal firms that service oil and gas companies drilling offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The FTC has asked a federal court in Texas to prevent the companies from merging, or from taking steps to shut down operations. CCS informed the FTC that it would shut certain Gulf Coast facilities, once the agency raised concerns about the effect of the deal on the costs to dispose of the toxic by-products of drilling. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/redsky.shtm.
DOUBLE BOGEY: Dick’s Sporting Goods has agreed to settle FTC charges that its subsidiary, Golf Galaxy, illegally allocated markets with a rival Canadian sporting goods chain. Beginning in 1998, Golf Galaxy principals helped Golf Canada open 13 retail stores in Canada under a consulting agreement. In 2004, the companies ended their relationship, but extended the non-compete provisions of the original contact through 2013. A proposed FTC order would invalidate the provisions of the modified deal that would have prevented Golf Galaxy or Golf Canada from entering the other’s market. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/dickssg.shtm.
PART 3. The FTC is seeking comment on proposed amendments to Parts 3 and 4 of the agency’s Rules of Practice, which are intended to expedite adjudicative proceedings, improve the quality of adjudicative decision-making, and clarify the roles of the Administrative Law Judge and the Commission. Written comments must be received on or before November 6, 2008. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/09/nprmpt3.shtm.
CREDIT REPAIR: HOW TO HELP YOURSELF (FORMERLY CREDIT REPAIR: SELF HELP MAY BE BEST). Cautions consumers about falling for false promises by companies that claim to be able to remove accurate and timely negative information from their credit reports for fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. No one can legally remove accurate negative information from a credit report. Explains how to legitimately improve your creditworthiness. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre13.shtm.
WHO CARES: SOURCES OF INFORMATION ABOUT HEALTH CARE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. Helps consumers and their family members, caregivers, and friends find reliable sources of information on a wide variety of health-related topics. 8.5"x11", 28 pages, color. www.ftc.gov/edu/pubs/consumer/health/heal17.pdf.
The FTC has developed a toolkit with everything you or your constituents need to host a “Protect Your Identity” Day. The kit has information and materials on how to deter, detect, and defend against identity theft, including handouts to customize and print, videos, a speech, a PowerPoint presentation, the answers to frequently asked questions, and materials to use for outreach to your local media -- in both English and Spanish.
Order copies from www.ftc.gov/bulkorder or
Download the kit at www.ftc.gov/idtheft (under Key Publications in the right column).
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
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www.ftc.gov/ocr/index.shtml. No password needed to access.
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