• On February 22, 2011, the FTC filed a complaint against Phillip A. Flora alleging that he sent millions of illegal spam text messages, including many messages that deceptively advertised a mortgage modification website. According to the complaint, in one 40-day period, Mr. Flora sent more than 5.5 million spam text messages. The FTC claims that the messages violate the FTC Act, in that they were unsolicited and because they misrepresented that Mr. Flora was affiliated with a government agency. The complaint also alleges that many recipients of Mr. Flora’s messages were required to pay a fixed fee for each text message received, thereby causing economic harm to those consumers. In addition, the complaint alleges that in promoting his text message advertising services via mass e-mails, Mr. Flora violated the CAN-SPAM Act by failing to provide a means for his e-mail recipients to opt out of receiving them. FTC v. Flora, Case No. 11-cv-00299 (C.D. Cal, filed Feb. 22, 2011).

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

A copy of the FTC’s press release on the case can be found here.

  • The FTC will host a forum on May 11, 2011, in Washington, DC to examine how the government, businesses, and consumer protection organizations can work together to prevent consumers from receiving unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bills — a practice known as “cramming.” The forum, which will be held at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, will be open to the public. Any persons interested in appearing on the panel must submit requests to the FTC no later than March 4, 2011. The FTC also invites interested parties to submit comments on cramming prevention through the FTC’s online comment form no later than April 27, 2011. The FTC’s Press Release on the Cramming Forum can be found here. Comments can be submitted to the FTC here.