• On March 25, 2011, the FTC finalized a settlement with online data broker US Search on charges that it made false claims that it could “lock” consumers’ records so that third parties could not see them. The settlement requires that US Search refund the $10 fee it charged to nearly 5,000 consumers, and bars US Search from making misrepresentations about the effectiveness of any service that will prevent a consumer’s name and address from appearing on US Search’s website, US Search’s advertisements, or in US Search’s search results. In re US Search, Inc., FTC File No. 1023131. A copy of the complaint along with other documents related to the settlement can be found here.
  • On March 23, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted the FTC’s request for a temporary restraining order against a Florida-based telemarketing company that allegedly defrauded timeshare owners who sought to sell their timeshare properties. According to the FTC’s complaint, Vacation Property Services, Inc. and its affiliated entities made tens of thousands of unsolicited telemarketing calls to timeshare owners falsely claiming that they could quickly find buyers for the owners’ timeshares. The complaint also alleges that the defendants called hundreds of thousands of phone numbers that are on the Do Not Call Registry. FTC v. Vacation Property Services, Inc., Case No. 8:11-cv-00595 (M.D. Fla, filed Mar. 22, 2011); FTC File No. 102 3228. The FTC press release 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. The FTC 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.