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

Monday, December 20, 2021

Competition Bureau: Retail Fuel Fusion

  • The FTC entered into a consent order with Global Partners LP and Richard Wiehl to settle accusations that Global’s proposed acquisition of the 27-store Wiehl gas station chain would violate federal antitrust laws. Under the order, Global and Wiehl must divest seven fuel retail outlets to Petroleum Marketing Investment Group, and for the next ten years, Global must obtain prior Commission approval before acquiring retail assets in fuel retail within two miles of one of the divested outlets. Along with the order, the agency issued a To analyse explaining the potential anti-competitive effects of the proposed acquisition and how the consent addresses those effects.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Bureau of Consumer Protection: Spyware and Data Security

  • The Commission has finalized and published a formal decision prohibiting stalkerware provider Support King, LLC from offering, promoting, selling or advertising any surveillance application. The decision follows an investigation in which the FTC alleged that Support King’s monitoring apps and products violated FTC law by allowing unlawful monitoring of a user’s activities on a mobile device, including text messages, browser history, geolocation and photos. The company must also remove any illegally collected information from its apps and must notify all app users of the illegal data collection.

Competition Bureau: healthcare and antitrust

  • The agency published a final order settle charges 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 practitioners. This order stems from Commission allegations that this on-site monitoring requirement unreasonably excluded teledentistry dental alignment providers and limited consumers’ ability to choose these remote businesses over a traditional dentist’s office. Under the order, the Council must not require on-site dental supervision or otherwise prevent these companies from providing alignment therapy through remote treatment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Competition Bureau: Food and Beverage

  • Biglari Holdings Inc., a Texas-based holding company, agreed to pay a $1.4 million civil penalty to settle charges that its two restaurant acquisitions on March 26, 2020 violated the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) Act. Expenses incurred allegations that instead of following HSR reporting requirements and awaiting FTC and DOJ approval, Biglari completed the acquisitions without complying with pre-merger notification requirements. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register and will be open for a 60-day comment period; the United States District Court for the District of Columbia may then approve the settlement if it has determined that it is in the public interest.

Competition Bureau: transportation and antitrust

  • The FTC has also announcement that Clarence Werner, owner of trucking and logistics company Werner Enterprises, Inc., will pay a civil penalty of $486,900 to settle multiple charges related to HRT. The agency had alleged that Mr. Werner failed to file required HSR documents when exercising his stock options to acquire shares of Werner Enterprises, even after learning that some of his earlier purchases violated HSR law. The settlement will be published in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period and will be subject to review by a federal court.

Consumer Protection Bureau: Privacy and Data Security in the Mortgage Industry

  • The Commission has given its final approval to a regulation with mortgage industry data analytics firm Ascension Data & Analytics, LLC regarding an alleged violation of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act Safeguard Rule. The alleged breach involved a breach of a cloud-based server containing sensitive consumer data, including social security numbers. Under the regulations, the company must refrain from storing or handling any consumer’s personally identifiable financial information until it implements a comprehensive data security program.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Consumer Protection Bureau: Merchant Cash Advance/Debt Collection Fraud

  • under a new settlement order, cash advance company RAM Capital Funding and its owner Tzvi Reich are permanently banned from the cash advance and debt collection industries. Additionally, RAM and Reich must pay a civil penalty of $675,000 to resolve charges under the FTC and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that they used deceptive tactics to seize assets from small businesses, non-profit organizations and religious organizations. Defendants must also void any judgments rendered against former clients and release liens on their clients’ assets that were obtained through unfair collection practices or threats of physical violence.

Consumer Protection Bureau: National Do Not Call Registry

  • The FTC published its biennial report to Congress on the Do Not Call Registry. The report summarizes the Registry’s current operations, its impact on new technologies, and the impact of the “established business relationship” exception to the application. The registry now has over 244 million active consumer registrations. The FTC received more than five million Do Not Call complaints in fiscal year 2021, and the vast majority of the complaints were about robocalls. The report details the FTC and FCC’s approaches to combating these illegal calls, including pursuing lawsuits against VoIP service providers who facilitated abusive calls.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Consumer Protection Bureau: Financial Fraud and Fair Credit Reporting Act

  • ITMedia Solutions LLC, a lead generation company, will pay $1.5 million in civil penalties under a stipulated order to resolve charges under the FTC and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The charges stem from allegations that the company tricked consumers into providing sensitive financial information under the guise that it would be shared with qualified lenders; instead, the company sold the information to marketers, debt relief and credit repair sellers, and other entities, which puts consumers at risk of fraud. identity and scams. 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.

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