FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 5 - Number 5
IN THIS ISSUE
INVENTION PROMOTION. A U.S. district court judge has ordered an invention promotion operation to pay $26 million in consumer redress and to stop making bogus claims to recruit customers. The FTC's complaint alleged that the operation made false claims about their selectivity in choosing products to promote, about their track record in turning inventions into profitable products, about the relationship they had with manufacturers, and that their income came from sharing royalties with inventors rather than from the $800 to $12,000 fees they charged.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/04/davison.htm
NEEDS SUPPORT. The makers of Pedia Loss, a purported children’s weight-loss product, and Fabulously Feminine, a supposed female libido enhancement product, have settled the FTC's charges that they couldn't support the claims they made for the products. The FTC’s complaint alleged that the defendants claimed that Pedia Loss, when taken by obese or overweight kids 6 or older, causes weight loss, suppresses appetite, increases fat burning, and slows carbohydrate absorption; it also alleged that Fabulously Feminine increases a woman’s libido, sexual desire, and sexual satisfaction.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/04/dynamichealth.htm
PUSHING THEIR BUTTONS. The FTC and the Attorney General of California have settled charges against an operation alleged to have sent millions of spam messages in violation of federal and state laws. The settlement will require the operators to monitor affiliates closely to assure compliance with the law, and requires that they give up approximately $475,000 in ill-gotten gains. In April 2005, the FTC and the Attorney General of California charged that the defendants used third-party affiliates or “button pushers” to send spam hawking mortgage loans and other products and services.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/04/optin.htm
MEDICARE PART D SOLICITATION: WORDS TO THE WISE ABOUT FRAUD. Warns consumers about scam artists claiming to represent Medicare Part D providers in an effort to get personal information. Explains what Part D providers may and may not do, and offers tips to help consumers protect themselves and their personal information. 8.5 x 11, 2 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/meddalrt.htm
THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION PRESENTS FOCUS ON FINANCES: PREPARING FOR YOUR FUTURE. A newspaper supplement to help educate young people about credit, identity theft, and buying a car. Tabloid-size, 16 pages, color. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/general/gen18.pdf
BUYING A CAR. Discusses pricing terms, financing options, trade-ins, and service contracts. Includes a worksheet to help calculate costs. 8.5 x 11, 4 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/autos/aut11.shtm
Now you and your constituents can order the FTC’s consumer publications in bulk quantities (50 or more) online -- at www.ftc.gov/bulkorder. If you need more copies than are offered on the website, please email Derick Rill at email@example.com. If you need one to 49 copies of a publication, call the FTC Consumer Response Center's toll-free helpline, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Remember that if you need a copy of any publication immediately, you can view, download, and print from www.ftc.gov.
GREEN LIGHTS & RED FLAGS. The FTC and its local partners present half-day “back-to-basics” workshops about complying with truth-in-advertising laws. "Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC-BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers" workshops feature a roster of national experts discussing the latest developments in advertising law for business owners, marketing executives, and in-house counsel. Upcoming Green Lights workshops will be in Seattle on May 19th, in cooperation with Seattle University Law School, and one on June 7th in Cincinnati, in conjunction with the BBB. For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/greenlights.
HOME SWEET HOME. The FTC will hold a workshop on the consumer protection issues arising from the growth of “nontraditional” or “alternative” mortgage products in the residential mortgage marketplace. The workshop will be on May 24, from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. It's free and open to the public; all attendees must show a valid form of photo ID. For more information: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/mortgage.htm
Although gas prices are rising, you don't need to break the bank or stay off the road this summer. The FTC suggests these tips to get the best mileage from your gas purchases:
Drive more efficiently by staying within posted speed limits, combining errands, and removing excess weight from your trunk.
Maintain your car by keeping the engine tuned, the tires properly inflated and aligned, and the air filters replaced regularly.
Use the octane level recommended in your owners' manual.
Be skeptical of claims for "gas-saving" gadgets."
Consider alternative fuels and vehicles.
For more information, visit: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt064.shtm
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
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