Consumer Reports Tests Gift Card Resale Sites

Consumer Reports checked four exchange sites: Giftcards.com, Cardpool.com, Giftcardrescue.com, and Monstergiftcard.com to find out how much a selection of gift cards might be worth if resold. Consumer Reports found that the most important thing that they learned is that checking multiple sites can pay off in order to find the best resale rate for your card. It also found that Walmart cards typically resold for the most, e.g. $80 for $100 gift card. Click here to read more.

FTC Stops Office Supplies Scam

A federal court, at the Federal Trade Commission's request, has temporarily halted and frozen the assets of Liberty Supply Co., also doing business as Omni Services, for scamming millions of dollars from nonprofit organizations and small businesses through an office supply scam. The FTC alleges that the Company made unsolicited calls to churches, schools and businesses, stating that the company was going out of business, and offered pens, paper clips and other office supplies at per-unit price even though they only sold multi-unit quantities, causing consumers to believe the quoted price applied to a package of items, instead of an individual item. The Company also sent unordered merchandise

JPMorgan Chase to Pay $100m for Failing to Disclose Conflicts of Interests to Investors

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. agreed to pay $40 million civil monetary penalty and disgorgement in the amount of $60 million, and to cease and desist from further violations to settle under an Order charges brought by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The Order finds that JPMCB failed to disclose certain conflicts of interest relating to its preference for investing its clients funds in thirid-party funds, hedge funds and mututal funds managed and operated by an affiliate or subsidiary of the bank. Click here to read more.

FDA Restricts Use of Tanning Beds to 18 and Up

Due to the many risks, including skin cancer, from indoor tanning devices due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the FDA is proposing a rule restricting their use only to adults age 18 and older. The new rule would also require indoor tanning facilities to inform adult users about the health risks of indoor tanning and to obtain a signed risk acknowledgement from these users. Click here to read more.

LifeLock Agrees to Refund Customers $100m for Failing to Protect Their Information Again

LifeLock, a company that claims to protect people from identity theft, agreed to pay the FTC $100 million to refund customers, one of the largest settlements of its kind. During 2012-2014 the FTC stated that LifeLock continued to violate its 2010 Order to secure customers’ sensitive information and promise not to mislead consumers in the future with deceptive claims about its services. Click here to read more.

Blue Buffalo Pays $32m to Settle Pet Food Class Action

After its competitor accused Blue Buffalo of mislabeling its products containing meat by-product as real "meat," several consumer class actions were filed against Blue Buffalo for violations of law including false advertising. Blue Buffalo agreed to pay $32 million to settle these class actions, while pursuing action against its ingredient supplier that it accuses of providing the meat by-product that was mislabeled. Click here to read more.

Wyndham Settles Data Breach Action with FTC

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has agreed to settle the first of its kind FTC charges relating to the company’s security practices that unfairly exposing the payment card information of hundreds of thousands of consumers to hackers in three separate data breaches. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will establish a comprehensive information security program designed to protect cardholder data – including payment card numbers, names and expiration dates and will conduct annual information security audits and maintain safeguards in connections to its franchisees’ servers. Click here to read more.

Retailers Pay Penalties for Falsely Labeling Products as Bamboo

The Federal Trade Commission filed complaints and proposed court orders barring Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.; Nordstrom, Inc.; J.C. Penney Company, Inc.; and Backcountry.com from mislabeling and advertising rayon textiles under FTC Textile Rules as made of “bamboo,” and requiring them to pay civil penalties totaling $1.3 million. Consumers often purchase bamboo for environmental/green reasons and the FTC says that it is misleading to call bamboo that has been chemically processed into rayon "bamboo." Click here to read more.

Audit Firm Gets Dinged by SEC for Ignoring Red Flags

Audit firm Grant Thornton LLP and two of its partners agreed to forfeit $1.5 in audit fees and pay $3m penalty to settle SEC charges that they ignored red flags and fraud risks while conducting deficient audits of two publicly traded companies. Those companies, senior housing provider Assisted Living Concepts (ALC) and alternative energy company Broadwind Energy, also faced SEC enforcement actions for improper accounting and other violations. Click here to read more.

Copper-Infused Clothing May Not Relieve Pain as Advertised

Tommie Copper, Inc. and its founder, Thomas Kallish, have agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceptively advertised its copper-infused compression clothing would relieve severe and chronic pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and other diseases without scientific evidence. Click here to read more.

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