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 9
IN THIS ISSUE
THE COLD WAR. The maker of Airborne Effervescent Health Formula, a cold prevention and treatment remedy, has agreed to pay up to $6 million to settle FTC charges that there is no competent and reliable scientific evidence to support claims that Airborne tablets can prevent or reduce the risk of colds, sickness, or infection, or reduce the severity or duration of a cold. In a related private class-action suit, the defendants agreed to pay up to $23.5 million for consumer refunds; the FTC settlement brings the total settlement fund to $30 million. Consumers have until September 15, 2008 to apply for a refund for up to six product purchases. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/airborne.shtm.
Orega-NO. North American Herb & Spice Co., LLC, a dietary supplement marketer, has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle FTC charges that it falsely claimed its product, OregaRESP, is scientifically proven to prevent or treat colds and flu, boost the immune system, and kill a variety of germs and pathogens. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/naherb.shtm.
ABANDON-ed CALL HOPE. The FTC has amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to bar telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages, unless a consumer previously has agreed to accept such calls from the seller. Another amendment modifies the TSR’s method of calculating the maximum permissible level of "call abandonment." The amendments will not affect consumers' ability to get calls that deliver purely "informational" prerecorded messages --- telling them, for example, that their flight has been cancelled or that they have a service appointment --- because those aren’t sales calls. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/tsr.shtm.
The FTC is hosting the following workshops at its Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. The workshops are free and open to the public. A government-issued photo ID is required for entry. Pre-registration is not required.
RFID. The workshop on September 23 will bring together industry representatives, government officials, and consumer advocates to discuss consumer awareness and education initiatives regarding RFID, proposed solutions to security and privacy threats; and emerging technologies and practices that may shape the marketplace in the coming years. A live webcast of the workshop will be available on FTC.gov. Interested parties may submit written comments or original research until October 23. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/transatlantic.shtm.
DEBT RELIEF. The September 25 workshop will examine the growth of for-profit debt relief entities. Representatives from business, consumer advocacy groups, and government will discuss the industry’s advertising and marketing, the role of third-party lead generators, regulatory developments, and consumer education. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/06/debt.shtm.
UNFAIR COMPETITION. The October 17 workshop will examine the scope of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair methods of competition. A live webcast of the workshop will be available on FTC.gov. Interested parties may submit written comments by October 24. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/section5.shtm.
Interested parties may submit comments to the following workshops. Watch the FTC website for the event dates.
PETROLEUM MARKET MANIPULATION. This workshop relates to the FTC’s petroleum market manipulation rulemaking and will explore several areas, like the proposed rule’s interpretation of fraud, deception, and intent. The comment deadline is September 18. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/pmmrwksp.shtm.
HEALTH CARE. The FTC will hold two public workshops and roundtables this fall to examine emerging health care issues with competition and consumer protection implications. The comment deadline is September 30, 2008. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/08/hcissues.shtm.
PILLS THAT PREVENT THE COMMON COLD? A TOUGH CLAIM TO SWALLOW. Cautions consumers about claims that herbal or natural remedies can cure the common cold. 8.5"x11", 1 page. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt078.shtm.
LOOKING FOR THE BEST MORTGAGE. Explains steps that can help you save money on a mortgage or home loan and includes a mortgage shopping worksheet. 8.5"x11", 8 pages, color. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea09.shtm.
Since September 2005, more than 8.1 million visitors have learned about computer security at OnGuardOnline.gov and AlertaEnLínea.gov, its Spanish-language counterpart. Now, a Web 2.0 redesign allows users to grab and embed games and videos, search for topics on the site, and have a more interactive experience while getting useful tips and information on 16 topics, including social networking, phishing, spam scams, and laptop security. Check out the engaging games and articles, get buttons and banners to help you link from your site, and find out how you can order free publications and use the materials from On Guard Online partners for constituent services, town hall meetings and other events in your Member’s local community.
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