Consumer Protection




Payday Loan Scam Victims Compensated
Americas

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it is returning approximately US$1.9 million to more than 110,000 consumers who were tricked by an online payday loan application into signing up for an unrelated debit card. The FTC found that payday loan marketers Swish Marketing Inc. worked with debit card marketers VirtualWorks to design a deceptive online payday loan application form with a hidden charge of up to $54.95 for a debit card with no included value.
FTC’s media release (31 August 2011)
(Source: FTC)


FTC Refunds Warranties Sold by Robocall
Americas

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it will refund approximately 4,450 customers who were tricked into buying bogus auto “warranties” by illegal “robocalls”. The FTC found that warranty seller Transcontinental Warranty hired telemarketer Voice Touch Inc to make pre-recorded phone calls to US consumers, tricking them into taking out warranties with the company by encouraging them to believe that “the callers were affiliated with [the] consumers’ car dealerships or manufacturers, and that their original auto warranty was about to expire”. Voice Touch and Transcontinental Warranty defendants have been permanently banned from telemarketing and required to pay approximately US$3 million for consumer refunds.
FTC’s media release (31 August 2011)
(Source: FTC)


Rising Hip Replacement Complaints Drives Research for Safer Alternative
Global

Complaints regarding failed hip replacement have surged in recent months. The increasing number of complaints has caused some experts to fear that there are serious problems with some types of artificial hips. The most problematic device, Johnson & Johnson’s Articular Surface Replacement, was recalled last year. While the problems with the devices do not appear to be life threatening, some patients have endured serious injuries as the devices wear down. Most surgeons have already stopped using the all metal hips and replaced them with safer alternatives that combine metal and plastic parts.
New York Times: Hip Implant Complaints Surge, Even as the Dangers Are Studied (22 August 2011)
(Source: New York Times)


Facebook Introduces New Privacy Tools
Global

Facebook introduced new privacy tools this week intended to help users control what they share with the public. According to company officials, the changes will simplify the process of establishing whom users allow profile access and what user information is shared with “friends.” The new tools are a drastic change from Facebook historical approach to privacy, in which almost all content was shared with the public unless the user explicitly opted out of sharing specific content.
New York Times: New Control Over Privacy on Facebook (23 August 2011)
(Source: New York Times)


FTC Seeks Comment on Warranty Rules
Americas

 The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made available a Request for Comment Concerning Interpretations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (23 August 2011) and its associated rules, guidance and interpretation. The FTC is seeking feedback on the “overall costs, benefits, necessity and regulatory and economic impact of these Interpretations, Rules and Guides”.

Submissions should be sent to the FTC using the online submission form by 24 October 2011.
FTC’s media release (18 August 2011)
(Source: FTC)