Debt Deception

The FTC sued debt negotiation companies, claiming that their ads deceptively promised substantial reductions in consumers’ credit card debt.  The district court concluded that “deception” under section 5 of the FTC Act should be evaluated on the basis of all information disclosed by the companies to consumers up to the point of purchase, and entered judgment for the defendants.  FTC v. Financial Freedom Processing Inc. No. 12-10520 (Aug. 12, 2013, unpublished). The Fifth Circuit thought that the district court’s analysis was “dubious,” noting authority in other circuits that holds “each advertisement must stand on its own merits.”  The FTC, however, elected to challenge the district court’s finding about deceptiveness at the point of purchase.  Here, “while the Companies’ radio ads and websites may be misleading–indeed, it is difficult to conclude that the websites are not deceptive–we are satisfied that substantial evidence supports the district court’s finding . . . .”

Recent Related Posts