Items tagged with FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has left its stamp on the crowdfunding scene by taking legal action against Erik Chevalier, the Kickstarter project creator who raised more than $122,000 funds from 1,246 backers to produce a board game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City. In the end, it was the backers who were doomed, as the project was cancelled without any refunds. Chevalier, who was also doing business as The Forking Path Co., issued a number of updates on the Kickstarter project saying that progress was being made. After 14 months, however, he announced that the project was cancelled and... Read more...
Give RadioShack credit, the iconic electronics chain lasted nearly a century and survived part of the Internet era before ultimately filing for bankruptcy. However, the chain's impressive 94-year run doesn't give it a free pass to treat customer data like an asset, or so that's the stance the Federal Trade Commission is taking. The FTC sent a letter (PDF) to the court appointed consumer privacy ombudsman in RadioShack's case. In the letter, FTC direct Jessica L. Rich notes that RadioShack is in possession of personal information for over 117 million customers, information that includes names, addresses... Read more...
The FTC has just laid the smackdown on yet another company that's been found guilty of exploiting mobile users without their knowledge. The FTC found that the company, called Nomi Technologies, even went against its own privacy policy mere months after it promised not to, in late 2012. Nomi's business model involves working with retail outlets to install sensors in their stores. As a customer walks in, these sensors fetch a phone's MAC address, which is broadcast broadcast via Wi-Fi, and begin to track it. You can see where this is going. With information in-hand, Nomi is able to tell these retailers... Read more...
As we’ve shown in the past, the FTC doesn’t take too kindly to “unlimited” data plans that are anything but. Companies like AT&T and Verizon Wireless still honor grandfather unlimited data plans, and in the past have throttled customers once they reached a certain threshold (5GB in the case of customers on AT&T’s wireless network). However, prepaid carrier TracFone has caught the wrath of the FTC for not only throttling customers on plans that were marketed as unlimited, but also not making it plainly clear that customers would be throttled for going over certain fixed limits within a billing... Read more...
Dish Network is in hot water with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for outright violating the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), including the "Do Not Call" registry, by placing tens of millions of unsolicited calls to numbers that appear on the list. In all, Dish Network and its retail partners made some 57 million unauthorized outbound calls. The FTC is holding Dish Network responsible for illegal calls made by its vendors to numbers on the DNC registry since Dish retained the retailers, authorized the retailers to market Dish products and services, and because the retailers... Read more...
AT&T agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the tune of $105 million in early October for its part in a “cramming” scheme that bilked customers out of millions of dollars. Cramming refers to any unauthorized charges on a customer’s cell phone bill, and typically come in the form of unsolicited text messages. Today is T-Mobile’s turn, as it has agreed to a settlement with the FTC and will pay at least $90 million. That sum will be compromised mostly of consumer refunds, but $18 million will go towards fines and penalties owed to all 50 states and $4.5 million will go directly... Read more...
Following an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google has agreed to refund at minimum $19 million to Android users for unauthorized in-app purchases. The search giant has already begun sending out emails to potentially affected individuals, which includes people who have made at least one in-app purchase between March 1, 2011, and November 18, 2014. If you're one of them, be on the lookout for an email; though don't feel too rushed to respond. You have until December 2, 2015 to request refunds on any and all in-app purchases made by your children without... Read more...
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is bringing the legal hammer down on tech support scammers who trick people into thinking there's something wrong with their computer that they're able to fix, or otherwise offering to speed up your PC. What they're really doing is charging for services that aren't necessary, though sometimes their motives are even more nefarious. Depending on where your web travels take you, the FTC says the newest trick involves scammers luring victims to their websites with pop-ads or web searches. Once there, a bogus program appears to detect several errors with your PC. The... Read more...
We've covered the battles between ISPs and various large-scale content providers multiple times before. From deliberately throttling Netflix users to older spats that prevented Time Warner customers from watching cable channels they'd legally paid for, these kinds of disagreements are common in America these days. A new report from M-Lab, however, illustrates the degree to which these battles can impact all of an ISPs customers, including those who don't use video on demand services like Netflix. Details on how M-Lab configured its tests are available in this PDF, but the company ran its benchmarks... Read more...
Today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed suit against AT&T stating that the wireless carrier misled and deceived millions of its customers through data throttling for those with its unlimited data plan. On top of that, customers who cancelled their accounts because of throttling we then charged early termination fees. "AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a press release. "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited." Image Credit: Flickr (Bill Bradford) According... Read more...
From the beginning, the anti-net neutrality argument has been built on a single premise: Give companies free rein to charge more money for services, and they'll respond by improving the customer experience, rolling out service to more people, and aggressively adopting faster technology. Over the past few months, Netflix has served as an unofficial test drive for this theory -- the company has begun paying both Comcast and Verizon directly to improve Netflix performance. The result?  Comcast, at least, has improved dramatically. Verizon, on the other hand, continues to crater -- its FiOS service... Read more...
Every parent fears it: In addition to the physical danger to your expensive tablet or smartphone when you hand it over to your child to play with, you’re always worried that they’ll go on an unauthorized in-app spending spree and get you slapped with a monstrous bill. Apple got body slammed by the FTC over its in-app purchasing practices this January, and now Cupertino is ensuring that its chief competitor is getting the same treatment. According to Politico, Apple general counsel sent a message to FTC Chairperson Edith Ramirez and Democratic Commissioner Julie Brill hinting strongly... Read more...
Amazon is willing to go to court if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decides to sue the e-commerce giant for refusing to pay a penalty over mobile in-app purchases made by children on smartphone applications. The FTC wants Amazon to enter into a settlement similar to the one it reached with Apple earlier this year, but after weeks of negotiations, Amazon says it's "deeply disappointing" that regulators are unwilling to see the difference between the two situations. According to the FTC, thousands of consumers have complained about unauthorized in-app charges by children on Amazon devices. The... Read more...
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is accusing T-Mobile, otherwise known as the "Un-carrier" (a name T-Mobile gave itself), of being un-cool by charging its wireless subscribers hundreds of millions of dollars for third-party services they never signed up for. These services include things like ringtones, wallpapers, horoscopes, and other such add-ons. According to the FCC's complaint, T-Mobile allegedly charged consumers a monthly fee that was typically $9.99 for the above mentioned features. The FTC says that in many cases, the consumers never signed up to receive any of the services, thus... Read more...
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