Category Archives: Unfair & Deceptive Acts & Practices (UDAP), including Discrimination

Influencer/Governor sued for violating DC consumer protection law

On Monday night, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem posted an….unusual video on X (nee Twitter)— a nearly five-minute post extolling the work done by cosmetic dentists at Smile Texas. The tone and content of the video struck many as an advertisement, but nowhere in the post was there an indication it was an ad or […]

Andrea Chandrasekhar paper finds chain stores in Black neighborhoods offer lower-quality consumer experience than in White neighborhoods

Andrea Chandrasekher of UC-Davis has a history of writing important papers on important subjects. She has done so again, with The “Good” Starbucks: Consumer Redlining in Large American Chain Stores. Here’s the abstract: Racial discrimination in the retail realm has been well-documented in the academic literature. However, past studies have focused on retail redlining, a discriminatory […]

FTC alleges that H&R Block steers consumers’ to unneeded products and deceptively markets “free” online filing

The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against H&R Block, alleging that the tax preparation company unfairly deletes consumers’ tax data and requires them to contact customer service when they downgrade to more affordable online products, and that it has deceptively markets its products as “free” when they were not free for many consumers. The […]

California court upholds $21 million penalty against for-profit college

The California Attorney General brought claims against for-profit online college Ashford University and its parent company for violating the state’s unfair competition and false advertising laws by making false and misleading statements to prospective students. The trial court agreed with the AG, and imposed over $22 miillion in civil penalties. Yesterday, an intermediate appellate court […]

Proposed junk fee rule gets state AG support

This week marked the end of an extended public comment period for the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule to rein in unfair and deceptive fees across the marketplace. Notably, 19 state attorneys general submitted a joint letter of support for the FTC’s proposal. The Commission proposes to address bait-and-switch pricing structures to prevent business from […]

US News Sues SF City Attorney Over Investigation Into Hospital Rankings

Last summer, the San Francisco City Attorney announced he was investigating former magazine U.S. News and World Report over its hospital rankings, noting “Consumers use these rankings to make consequential health care decisions, and yet there is little understanding that the rankings are fraught and that U.S. News has financial relationships with the hospitals it […]

My draft article arguing that discrimination is unfair within the meaning the CFPB’s and FTC’s UDAP statutes . . .

. . .  titled Is Discrimination Unfair? is now available. I would love to hear any comments anyone has. Here’s the abstract: Though multiple federal laws explicitly bar discrimination in consumer transactions, many consumer transactions fall in the gaps between those laws. But recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have attempted […]

FTC Bars TurboTax from Advertising Itself as “Free”

The FTC brought an administrative complaint against Intuit based on its nationwide, multichannel advertising campaigns promoting its TurboTax tax preparation service as “free,” when in reality, two-thirds of taxpayers were ineligible for its “free” product. Yesterday, the FTC made public a unanimous opinion affirming an ALJ’s cease-and-desist order and conclusion that the claims were false […]

Travelers United Continues Lawsuits Against DC Restaurant Fees

An interview with Travelers United’s lawyer, explaining their legal theories and the kinds of fees they are challenging under DC consumer protection law, is available here.