The FTC unveiled its Proposed Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security. The Commission relied on the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act and the Made in USA Labeling Rule to refer a complaint against personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and light fixture manufacturers. The case marks the second time the FTC has used the Made in the USA Labeling Rule to target companies for allegedly deceptive claims. Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya spoke at the National Association of Attorneys General Presidential Summit on technology threats to consumer protection. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (August 8-12, 2022)

The FTC announced two victories in separate actions against Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) companies and secured more than $17 million for consumers. In the two cases, the FTC has alleged that California-based Glowyy and Louisiana-based American Screening each failed to deliver PPE products within promised time periods during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the FTC announced a new action and consent agreement against online homebuying firm Opendoor Labs, Inc. for allegedly misleading claims about the benefits of its service. Last, the Commission is sending checks totaling more than $1 million to 1,966 consumers who were harmed by a debt collection scam. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (August 1-5, 2022)

The FTC, in the week leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, took action in multiple healthcare arenas, including supplements and Ear, Nose and Throat (“ENT”) specialty products. The agency also successfully shut down a scammer who used PPP loans to sell bogus grant funding packages to minority-owned businesses in Florida. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (June 27 – July 1, 2022)

With the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 brought an onslaught of retail bankruptcy cases. Lord & Taylor, Ascena Brands, Neiman Marcus and JC Penny, among many others – not less than 52 in total. As the economy recovered from the initial shock of the pandemic, the number of retail bankruptcy cases subsided in 2021. According to reports, there were 21 retail cases in 2021 as retail traffic began returning to pre-pandemic levels. 2022, however, brings new pressures on the global economy, and certain that may strike the retail industry with force. This month’s filing by Revlon put a spotlight on the industry and may portend a coming wave of filings in what has been a rather tame year for bankruptcies generally, and in retail in particular.

Continue Reading Revlon May Signal Another Wave of Retail Bankruptcies

In the first half of 2022, manufacturers have been as busy as ever navigating recalled products and fielding the class action lawsuit that often (but do not always) follow.

CPAP Litigation Finds New Defendant 

For the last year, Philips Respironics (“Philips”) has been inundated with lawsuits  brought by consumers and medical device suppliers, over its CPAP and BiPAP breathing machines. And in more recent months, SoClean, a manufacturer of sanitation machines specifically designed to work with CPAP and BiPAP sleep apnea equipment, has been defending itself against a lawsuit of its own.

Continue Reading Recall Litigation Report: 2022 Mid-Year Recap

Class actions following a product recall often focus on what the company allegedly knew before its products were taken off the market. But this is not always the case. A company can also come under fire for its actions after the recall and, specifically, what recourse it offers to consumers of recalled products.

On October 5, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) alerted the public of a manufacturing issue with certain lots of Ellume USA LLC’s (“Ellume”) COVID-19 Home Tests that had could lead to false positive results, and several weeks later, the FDA announced a Class I recall of these tests based on the higher-than-acceptable false positive test result. When it comes to COVID-19, a false positive could lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment of the actual cause of illness; further spread of COVID 19 when presumed positive people are grouped based on false test results; unnecessary COVID-19 treatment from health care providers, such as antiviral treatment, convalescent plasma, or monoclonal antibody treatment, which can result in side effects; disregard for the recommended precautions against COVID-19, including vaccination; and isolation, monitoring household or close contacts for symptoms, limiting contact with family or friends, and missing school or work.
Continue Reading Recall Litigation Report: Consumers Bring Class Action Lawsuit Against Ellume Refusing to Refund Recalled COVID-19 Home Tests

The FTC kicked off the week with a fresh batch of warning letters and followed this up with a pair of complaints related to deceptive marketing. Just in time for the busiest part of tax season, the FTC has filed administrative and federal complaints against Intuit, manufacturers of the popular TurboTax software. The Commission also entered into a record-breaking settlement with a multistate car dealer over alleged deceptive sales tactics, some of which were racially discriminatory. Finally, action in the Senate this week indicates that the long-vacant fifth Commissioner position may finally fill. These stories and more after the jump.
Continue Reading FTC Updates (March 28 – April 1, 2022)

The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection issued a number of press releases regarding advertising and marketing practices in the fashion, finance, and the dietary supplement industries. The agency finalized a settlement over false and suppressed endorsement reviews. It also obtained injunctions over allegations ranging from false claims of removing negative information from credit reports to false health claims related to dissolvable film strips. The Commission also proactively issued warning letters to companies allegedly selling and advertising COVID-19 treatments.
Continue Reading FTC Updates (March 21-25, 2022)

Monday, February 28, 2022

Bureau of Consumer Protection: Credit Card Debt Fraud

  • The FTC has permanently banned a group of alleged scammers from the debt relief industry and has imposed a monetary judgment of $5.3 million. The ban and judgment stem from a settlement related to a lawsuit in which the Commission and the Florida Office of the Attorney General alleged that the defendants tricked seniors and financially distressed consumers into signing up for a debt relief scheme by “bombarding” them with telemarketing calls. Under the alleged scheme, the defendants falsely claimed that consumers could save thousands of dollars in credit card interest, when in reality the defendants did little more than collect upfront fees from consumers. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the stipulated final order based on the settlement.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (February 28-March 4, 2022)

The emergence of different COVID-19 variants and the corresponding surge in COVID-19 cases brings with it an increased demand for COVID-19 tests, particularly those that offer immediate results and can be done from the comfort of home. Unfortunately, like many other products on the market, at-home COVID tests are not immune to false claims or false results.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced a Class I recall of at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests manufactured by E25Bio Inc. According to the FDA, E25Bio marketed and distributed its SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Kits (“E25Bio Tests”) to customers throughout the United States without authorization, clearance, or approval from the FDA and with insufficient data demonstrating that the E25Bio Tests performed accurately. Rapid antigen tests are designed to detect proteins called antigens from the SARS-CoV-2 virus in patient samples. And according to the FDA, the E25Bio Tests contained inaccurate claims and instructions, including a statement misrepresenting the test as FDA-authorized.
Continue Reading Recall Litigation Report: E25Bio Inc. COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests