On June 28, the FTC announced it had filed an action in federal court against a California-based student debt relief enterprise for deceptive practices, including unlawfully obtaining advance fees for debt relief, and pretending to be affiliated with the Department of Education for engaging new customers. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a temporary restraining order on June 24 against the defendants.Continue Reading FTC Files Action Against Student Debt Relief Enterprise

On April 25, the FTC took action against a Washington-based bill payment company and its two co-founders alleging that the company used misleading search ads to impersonate consumers’ billers and deceptive design practices to mislead those consumers into paying “junk fees” they tacked on to consumers’ bills. Continue Reading FTC Calls Out Bill Payment Company’s Use of Dark Pattern Practices

On May 1, the FTC announced a settlement in federal court in the Northern District of Georgia against a payment processing company, along with its former CEO and senior vice president, for the company’s role in handling transactions for a debt-relief company engaging in fraud. The defendants have agreed to a settlement that includes a $10 million payment to compensate affected consumers and tighter restrictions on future business operations.Continue Reading FTC Cracks Down on Payments Processor for Facilitating Fraud

On March 29, the CFPB and the FTC jointly filed an amicus brief with the Eleventh Circuit in a matter involving a dispute under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The case involves a consumer who filed disputes with a consumer reporting agency (CRA) after discovering multiple errors in her credit file, including incorrect personal information. However, the CRA failed to delete the disputed information, notify any furnishers of the consumer’s dispute, or provide the sources of the disputed information. The consumer sued, alleging the CRA violated the FCRA’s reinvestigation requirement by failing to reinvestigate her dispute regarding her name, address, and SSN information. The CRA claimed the text of the CRA did not require it to reinvestigate incorrect personal identifying information. At summary judgment, the district court found that while the reinvestigation requirement applied to personal identifying information, the CRA did not “willfully or negligently” violate the FCRA because its interpretation of the reinvestigation requirement was not objectively unreasonable.Continue Reading CFPB and FTC Argue Consumer Reporting Companies Have an Obligation to Correct Errors in Joint Amicus Brief

On March 7, the FTC announced it had finalized substantial revisions to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (the proposed rule was discussed here). Since promulgated in 1995, the TSR has been amended four times, most recently in 2015. This latest revision to the TSR significantly expands its reach by bringing business to business (B2B) telemarketing calls within its scope. Moreover, the revisions substantially enhanced the TSR’s recordkeeping requirements which will likely have a major impact on telemarketers’ compliance efforts. Key revisions to the TSR include:Continue Reading FTC Announces Major Expansion of Telemarketing Sales Rule

On February 6, the FTC announced that it had reached proposed settlements with several defendants in a pending action where the parties were accused of operating a fraudulent student debt relief scheme and collecting so-called “junk fees” from consumers.Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement of Junk Fee Enforcement Action

On January 18, the FTC issued a consent order prohibiting a digital platform and data aggregator from selling or licensing precise consumer location data on the grounds that it did not obtain consumer consent before collecting and selling the data to advertisers.Continue Reading FTC Cracks Down on Data Aggregator, Bans Sale of Precise Consumer Location Data

On January 10, the CFPB and the attorneys generals of Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, and Wisconsin sued a New York-based debt relief company and its founders in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York for violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule as well as New York and Wisconsin state law.Continue Reading CFPB and Attorneys General Sue Debt-Relief Enterprise

On January 25, the FTC announced that it was issuing Section 6(b) orders against five Big Tech companies requiring them to provide information regarding recent investments and partnerships involving generative artificial intelligence (AI) companies and major cloud service providers.Continue Reading FTC Opens Inquiry Into Generative AI Investments and Partnerships