FTC Updates (December 20, 2021 – January 7, 2022)

Monday 20 December 2021

Competition Authority: Retail Fuel Merger

  • The FTC stepped in consent order with Global Partners LP and Richard Wiehl to resolve allegations that Global’s proposed acquisition of the Wiehl chain of 27 retail service stations would violate federal antitrust laws. Under the order, Global and Wiehl must divest seven service stations to Petroleum Marketing Investment Group, and Global must obtain the Commission’s prior approval for the next ten years before acquiring any fuel retail facility within two miles of any of the divested locations. Simultaneously with the order, the authority issued a analysis Explanation of the potential anti-competitive effects of the proposed acquisition and how the consent agreement addresses those effects.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Consumer Protection Agency: Spyware and data security

  • The Commission has concluded and issued a formal decision Prohibit “stalkerware” provider Support King, LLC from offering, promoting, selling, or advertising surveillance apps. The decision follows an investigation in which the FTC claimed that Support King’s monitoring apps and products violated FTC law by illegally monitoring a user’s activities on a mobile device, including text messages, browsing history, geolocation and photos, allowed. The company must also delete all information illegally collected from its apps and inform all app users about the illegal data collection.

Competition Authority: Healthcare & Antitrust

  • The agency provided one final order Settlement of allegations that the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners violated antitrust laws by requiring on-site supervision by a licensed dentist for tooth alignment scans performed by non-dental physicians. This order stems from allegations by the Commission that this on-site oversight obligation unreasonably excludes providers of teledental-based orthodontics and limits the ability of consumers to choose these remote firms over a traditional dental practice. Under the order, the board may not require on-site dental monitoring or otherwise prevent these firms from offering alignment therapy through remote treatment.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Competition Office: Food and Beverage

  • Biglari Holdings Inc., a Texas-based holding company, agreed to pay a $1.4 million civil penalty to resolve allegations that his two March 26, 2020 restaurant acquisitions violated the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) statute. The applicable fees accusations that Biglari completed the acquisitions instead of following HSR reporting requirements and awaiting FTC and DOJ approval without complying with pre-merger reporting requirements. The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register and will be open for comment for 60 days; The US District Court for the District of Columbia may approve the settlement if it determines it is in the public interest.

Competition Authority: Transport & Antitrust

  • The FTC too announced that Clarence Werner, owner of trucking and logistics company Werner Enterprises, Inc., will pay a civil penalty of $486,900 to settle several HSR-related charges. The agency had alleged that Mr. Werner failed to file the required HSR filings in exercising his stock options to purchase shares in Werner Enterprises, even after learning that some of his previous purchases violated the HSR Act. The settlement will be posted to the federal register for a 60-day comment period and then reviewed in federal court.

Consumer Protection Agency: Privacy and Security in the Mortgage Industry

  • The Commission gave final approval for a settlement with mortgage industry data analytics firm Ascension Data & Analytics, LLC in connection with an alleged violation of the Safeguards Rule of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act. The alleged breach resulted in a breach of a cloud-based server that contained sensitive consumer information, including social security numbers. As part of the settlement, the company must not store or otherwise handle consumers’ personal financial information until it implements a comprehensive data security program.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Bureau of Consumer Protection: Merchant Cash Advance/Collection Fraud

  • under a new one settlement order, cash advance company RAM Capital Funding and its owner Tzvi Reich are permanently banned from the merchant cash advance and collections industry. In addition, RAM and Reich must pay a $675,000 civil penalty to resolve allegations under the FTC statute and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley statute that they used fraudulent tactics to steal assets from small business, nonprofit, and confiscate organizations and religious organizations. Defendants must also set aside all judgments made against previous customers and release liens on their customers’ property obtained through unfair collection practices or threats of physical violence.

Consumer Protection Agency: National Do-Not-Call Register

  • The FTC Approved its biennial report to Congress on Do-Not-Call registration. The report summarizes the current operation of the registry, its impact on emerging technologies and the impact of the “established business relationship” exemption from enforcement. The registry now has over 244 million active consumer registrations. The FTC received more than five million “Do Not Call” complaints in fiscal 2021, and the vast majority of complaints related to automated calls. The report describes the FTC’s and FCC’s approaches to combating these illegal calls, including bringing cases against VoIP service providers who have facilitated abusive calls.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Consumer Protection Agency: Financial Fraud and Fair Credit Reporting Act

  • ITMedia Solutions LLC, a lead generation company, pays $1.5 million in civil penalties under a fixed order to resolve encumbrances under the FTC Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The charges stem from allegations that the company tricked consumers into providing confidential financial information under the pretense that it was shared with qualified lenders; Instead, the company sold the information to marketers, debt relief and credit repair sellers, and other companies that put consumers at risk for identity theft and fraud. The order also prohibits the company from making misleading statements to consumers or selling a consumer’s information outside of a limited set of circumstances.
Back To Top