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

Can we call it “Opaque Patterns” instead of “Dark Patterns”?

The phrase “dark patterns” was invented by Harry Brignull and has been defined by the FTC as ““practices that trick or manipulate users into making choices they would not otherwise have made and that may cause harm.” Examples include web sites that makes it easy to purchase an ongoing service but that make it harder […]

Online lending platform’s terms for tacked-on loan charges? “Tips” and “donations”

“Tipping” and “donating” have taken on a new meaning in high-interest online lending. Earlier this month, California, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia snagged SoLo Funds, Inc., an online lending platform, for deceiving consumers about the true cost of the loans it facilitated. According to the states and DC, the fintech required borrowers to pay […]

FTC sends $557,000 to consumers harmed by credit card rate reduction scam

The Federal Trade Commission is sending payments totaling more than $557,000 to consumers who paid money to GDP Network, LLC (YF Solution), a Florida-based telemarketing company that promised credit card interest rate reductions and regularly failed to deliver. The FTC and the State of Florida sued GDP Network and its owners in July 2020, alleging […]

FTC obtains injunctions against telemarketing debt relief scam

In November 2022, the FTC brought a lawsuit against the operators of a telemarketing debt relief scheme based in Tennessee. Operating under a variety of trade names, the network had tricked consumers to part with tens of millions of dollars based on false promises to eliminate or substantially reduce credit card debt. This week, the […]

Essential Oils unsupported health claims are beyond “puffery,” 2nd Circuit holds

“Essential oils” have become very popular over the past few years, in part due to confusion that, in this context, “essential” does not mean “indispensable or necessary,” but rather refers to the means by which they are derived from plants. An essential oil company called Young Living had marketed its products as being “therapeutic-grade,” and […]

FTC examines companies’ environmental claims

Politico reports: “As demand for sustainable products has skyrocketed, so have concerns about greenwashing. Public comments were due yesterday on the FTC’s first update in 11 years of its “Green Guides,” which are essentially advice for how companies can make environmental marketing claims. The nearly 60,000 comments shed light on what companies, industry trade groups […]

FTC approves order against company for hijacking online product reviews

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order against The Bountiful Company for abusing a feature of to deceive consumers into thinking that its newly introduced supplements had more product ratings and reviews, higher average ratings, and “#1 Best Seller” and “Amazon’s Choice” badges. Details, including a link to the complaint, are […]

CFPB takes second stab at defining “abusive” conduct

The public comment period closed yesterday on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule to create a public registry for terms and conditions in non-negotiable nonbank contracts that limit consumer rights and protections. The proposal recognized a certain powerlessness of consumers who are forced to surrender critical rights when seeking out essential financial products. Part […]

FTC action leads to industry ban for operators of “extended vehicle warranty” scam

As a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, the operators of a telemarketing scam that called hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide to pitch them expensive “extended automobile warranties” will face a lifetime ban from the extended automobile warranty industry and from all outbound telemarketing. The FTC’s press release is here.

CFPB seeks public info on data brokers’ business

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to know more about data brokers and their practices, as these entities gather and sell consumers’ personal and private information. The CFPB requests public feedback including information about the entities that collect personal consumer data, the types of data collected, sources that data brokers use to collect information, their […]