Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission | Protecting America's Consumers
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission | Protecting America's Consumers
Protect Net Neutrality from the Trump Administration
The internet has helped to boost the economy, create an amazing tool for educators, and provides an outlet for communication with people all over the world. However, the simple policy that has protected this magical land of opportunity is under fire from both the Trump-appointed FCC chairman (Ajit Pai) and service providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. Sign this petition to call on the FCC to protect net neutrality under the Trump administration. Net neutrality regulations are designed to stop ISPs like the big cable and phone companies from favoring/crippling certain websites and services for their own benefit and financial gain. These rulings could be reversed as Republicans continue to deregulate private industries. As a senior in high school, I can appreciate the need to be able to complete homework, communicate, and access streaming media like Netflix without an ISP slowing down my traffic. In the 21st century, internet is like drinking water, electricity, or transportation. Those without neutral access to it are at an unfair disadvantage. If net neutrality goes away, the internet will become distorted, and your access to certain content will be based upon your ISP's financial interests and what you're willing to pay, like cable television, hurting the consumer. Let's stop the telecom lobbyists who buy their influence, and the private companies who already control so much of our media before it is too late.
Equifax must give FREE credit protection & monitoring services and more for LIFE
For the duration of each person’s lifetime, Equifax must provide for FREE, unlimited security freeze and unfreeze at all credit bureaus, credit monitoring (detection and alert) at all credit bureaus, credit score on a monthly basis, counseling and resources to fully resolve identity theft, and reimburse for any money stolen due to the data and identity theft. On Thursday, Equifax disclosed that a data breach it discovered on July 29 may have impacted as many as 143 million consumers in the United States. This will certainly impact your or someone you know. The data that was stolen were things that we cannot easily change, such as social security numbers, date of birth, name, address, driver's license number, among other information. What can someone do with this information? They can steal your identity. They can open and use credit cards or obtain loans with your information, and ruin your credit. They can go buy a mobile phone and get mobile service, compliments of your identity, and the bills will go to you. They can steal your identity to take a job and elect not to withhold taxes so that you are on the hook for the taxes. They can file a tax return and make it look like you get a refund, but the refund will be sent to the thieves. They can use your information to obtain medical care from a doctor and hospital, get expensive drugs and medical equipment with the bills going to you, and possibly resulting in a denial of medical services to you because your limits have been reached. After the thieves use your information to steal from you, your credit will start to get impacted. Unpaid bills will go on your credit. In our credit based society, you need good credit to rent an apartment or house based, obtain a job, obtain a student loan, open lines of credit for a credit card or for your small business loan, etc. The stolen data will persist and will retain its value to the attackers for years to come because we cannot change information, such as our SSN, DOB, and our names. Identity thieves will ruin what we have worked so hard for. The data is extremely valuable and greatly impact our everyday lives and future lives. Don't forget that children's identities are also valuable because they have clean credit to start with and most parents don't monitor their children's credit. Imagine your child trying to obtain a student loan, or getting his first job or apartment, but being denied for identity theft that happened years before. Equifax was careless, negligent, and reckless in their data security and now they only want to give the affected consumers 1 year of free credit monitoring, when they know full well how valuable the information is to the hackers and that the information is the key to our identities. Our personal data cannot be changed so identity theft can still take place years from now. The average victim spends nearly $500 and 30 hours resolving just one identity theft incident. Now consider how many credit cards can be applied for, how many mobile phones can be purchased, how many other things can and will happen during your life now that this information is out there in perpetuity and multiply this by the cost and time averages. Equifax must make this right by providing each service for free, for the duration of each person’s lifetime: Security freeze and unfreeze with all credit bureaus (unlimited), Credit monitoring (detection and alert) with all credit bureaus through a third party (Equifax cannot provide the detection and alert because Equifax cannot be trusted), Credit score on a monthly basis from all credit bureaus, Counseling and resources to fully resolve identity theft (through a third party because Equifax cannot be trusted), and Reimburse for any money stolen due to the data and identity theft.
In an unprecedented breach, Equifax allowed nearly 150 million Americans to become vulnerable. That is 1-in-2. Simply put, you are most likely affected. Equifax could not adequately protect the social security numbers, home addresses, and drivers license numbers of the many Americans who were forced to trust them. Not only that, but we witnessed Equifax company executives using the hack to sell their stock in their company and making millions of dollars in the process. We demand an investigation into the matter and we demand an answer to the following questions:-How invasive was the breach?-How extensive was the breach?-Who was involved in the breach?-What reforms will be taken so that this does not happen again? We also demand that that the executives who knew about the hack beforehand, and especially those who sold stock, be questioned and investigated. This needs to be addressed. Please share and continue to spread the word. (Follow @TheAnonJournal for immediate updates on this matter - theanonjournal.org)
Stop Price Gauging Emergency Vet Services
Mars Inc. owns a great majority of pet care services and other pet related brands like Pedigree, Royal Canin, Ceser, Banfield, IAMS, Eukanuba, Sheba, Temptations, and Whiskas (and more!). Due to the monopoly that Mars Inc. has, they are able to set unreasonable rates for emergency vet care. I started this petition almost 6 months ago after spending over 7K to try and save my dog from what started out as just vomiting. During this journey I have literally heard from thousands of people who share my same experience. My heart breaks for them as much as it breaks for the loss of my sweet Ava. I implore every reader to research your animal care before an emergency strikes. Know your options! Mars Inc. does not acknowledge your complaints outside having a canned customer service representative contact you. If they truly cared about animals they would be working to fix their reputation and to save animals. Unfortunately, as of April 2017, Mars Inc.is in the process of purchasing VCA, another emergency provider. So your options are becoming more limited. Below is my story ______________________________ I recently took my 8-year-old Chihuahua to Blue Pearl, one of the largest chains of veterinary clinics in the United States. My beautiful dog was sick and I just wanted answers. Over the course of 3 days so many options and tests were thrown my way. It was hard to digest what was needed and to know if I was making the right choices for my beloved pet while weighing the financial costs. It was a pet owner’s worst nightmare. I ended up racking up over $7,000 dollars in debt and still lost one of my best friends. This experience has opened my eyes to the lack of government oversight and regulations of veterinarian clinics. Companies like Blue Pearl, owned by MARS Incorporated, have shown an inability to police themselves. It’s time they put pets over profits. As a first step, I’m asking that all proposed tests and procedures have the costs, benefits, and risks be provided to pet owners in writing. This will allow for people like myself to have in writing what we are being told, be able to weigh our options better, and get a second opinion if needed. Had I had in writing the options being told to me, I’m not sure if I would have made the same choices, but in such a horrible moment I would have felt more informed. Blue Pearl and other clinics won’t do this on their own, and regulations vary greatly by state. That is why I am calling on Congress to make this a national requirement. The love of animals and our family pets is a bipartisan issue, and I believe we can get our Congressional leaders to act.
To have people file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
This is to all who ordered from the brand called Anti Social Social Club, which I will refer to as 'the brand', in the late October. Two months have elapsed and the brand still does not fulfill the orders. Furthermore, the owner of the brand, Neek Lurk, continues to upload his Instagram pictures without any concern for the customers. He does not respond to thousand of messages asking him to notify the situation. The email address is the automated one, and unreachable. The Shipping Info on the website states that: "After checkout once the order is confirmed we will send you a notification as soon as the item is shipped with tracking Please allow 7-14 Business days of shipping & handling Please allow 5-10 days for delivery Due to the high demand of items, orders will be fulfilled in the order they are received, and therefore may sell out before a certain item is processed. We use USPS for domestic orders (USA) & DHL for international (Worldwide)" However, the brand is unable to fulfill this policy. Furthermore, the brand is also in a clear violation of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. According to FindLaw, "if the business is unable to ship within the promised time or within 30 days, the merchant must promptly tell the customer by mail, telephone or email, and give a new shipping estimate and give the customer a chance to cancel their order and receive a full refund. This offer to cancel or accept the new shipping date must give the customer sufficient time to make a decision. In other words, you can't call to inform a customer you can't make a shipping time and then demand an immediate answer." The punishment is as follows: "Enforcement The FTC has wide ranging powers to enforce the 30-Day Rule. Businesses can be sued by the FTC for injunctive relief, damages of up to $16,000 per violation, and redress for the consumer. Additionally, state and local agencies can sue you for violating consumer protection laws." This applies to the Internet order as well. Therefore, we urge the people to file this petition so that the brand does not continue to practice this kind of bad business. Thank you.
Stop health authorities claiming that vaccines are ‘safe’
This petition is neither pro- nor anti-vaccination. It aims instead to show health professionals, health authorities and governments the public desire for greater honesty over the communication of scientific knowledge about vaccine safety prior to vaccination consent being given. Vaccination is a form of medical treatment. International and European Union human rights law  requires that everyone, with very limited exceptions, must give consent before receiving a medical treatment. Informed consent means that all relevant information should be available before someone is asked to decide about their own, or their child’s, vaccination. This should include the known benefits and risks, as well as any alternatives, to the proposed treatment. In most cases, this simply doesn’t happen. Members of the public, parents and children are instead generally told by health authorities, doctors or nurses that vaccines are both safe and effective. These views are not supported by the available scientific facts and amount to the public being misled meaning that consent is often misinformed rather than informed. Health authorities responsible for communicating vaccine safety have been found to conceal information that is of paramount relevance to public health. This has been shown in the UK, Sweden, the USA  and in other countries. While the risk of permanent injury from vaccines following any single vaccination is small, the overall risk of the full vaccination schedule to any child is not well understood and thousands of people have suffered long-term injuries and even death that have been attributed to vaccinations by courts in the USA and elsewhere. Vaccine manufacturers have made governments liable for vaccine injuries through compensation programs that have now been established in 29 countries . In the USA, $3.5 billion has been paid out in compensation as a result of vaccine injury since 1988. This includes 16,616 cases of vaccine injury and 1,219 vaccine-related deaths, of which 993 injuries and 59 deaths are from the MMR vaccine alone. The UK government is presently trying to appeal a court decision in order to relieve itself of liability from vaccine injuries linked to the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine. There are over 1300 cases in the USA where compensation has been paid to people who have suffered vaccine-related brain damage (encephalopathy). Serious gastrointestinal reactions have been found to be related to certain vaccines, including rotavirus. Vaccine side effects are classified by government regulators according to frequency as follows: ‘Very common’ (≥1/10), ‘common’ (≥1/100 to <1/10), ‘uncommon’ (≥1/1,000 to <1/100). The known rates of side effects, that may be underreported in clinical trials conducted by vaccine manufacturers, are generally not communicated to parents or children. Examples of reported side effects in EU licensing authorisations for Cervarix, Gardasil and MMR are referenced below.[12, 13, 14] Given the very high number of children vaccinated each year, large numbers of children can be seriously and unpredictably affected even when side effects are considered ‘uncommon’, with children sometimes suffering long-term, debilitating or even life-threatening illnesses. Governments, health authorities and health professionals have a duty of care to communicate all available, relevant information to parents, guardians or children prior to vaccination consent being given. Sign this petition if you feel that governments, health authorities and health professionals should have a duty of care to the public and so must stop claiming that vaccines are ‘safe’. They must also not withhold relevant information about vaccine safety that obstructs informed consent. References 1. Article 3(2)(a), Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:12012P/TXT&from=en 2. Understanding informed consent – a primer (FindLaw®): http://healthcare.findlaw.com/patient-rights/understanding-informed-consent-a-primer.html 3. Gallagher P, “Thousands of teenage girls report feeling seriously ill after routine school cancer vaccination”, The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/thousands-of-teenage-girls-report-feeling-seriously-ill-after-routine-school-cancer-vaccination-10286876.html 4. ANH-Intl, “Swedish cover-up of HPV vaccine side effects—and more”, 4 Nov 2015. http://anhinternational.org/2015/11/04/swedish-cover-hpv-vaccine-side-effects 5. Beck, S. “Vaxxed: Why we should be allowed to watch the movie.” 22 Feb 2017. http://anhinternational.org/2017/02/22/vaxxed-allowed-watch-movie 6. ANH-Intl. “It’s official: HPV vaccine, the most dangerous vaccine yet.” 18 Jan 2017. http://anhinternational.org/2017/01/18/official-hpv-vaccine-vaccine-dangerous-yet 7. Looker C, Kelly H. “No-fault compensation following adverse events attributed to vaccination: a review of international programmes”. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2011; 89: 371-378. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/89/5/10-081901/en/ 8. HRSA, Vaccine Injury Compensation Data, updated 1 Feb 2017. https://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data/vicpmonthlyreporttemplate2_1_17.pdf 9. UK Department of Work and Pensions case with Pandemrix (2017): https://www.hja.net/press-releases/dwps-pandemrix-vaccine-injury-appeal-set-impact-future-compensation-claims 10. Attkisson S. “Vaccines, Autism and Brain Damage: What's in a Name?” CBS News, 14 Sept 2010. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/vaccines-autism-and-brain-damage-whats-in-a-name/ 11. Geier DA, Geier MR. Gastrointestinal reactions and rotavirus vaccination based upon analysis of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database for 1999. Hepatogastroenterology. 2004; 51(56): 465-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15086184 12. Cervarix EU marketing authorisation: http://ec.europa.eu/health/documents/community-register/2011/2011022198968/anx_98968_en.pdf 13. Gardasil EU marketing authorisation: http://ec.europa.eu/health/documents/community-register/2010/2010081885368/anx_85368_en.pdf 14. MMR EU marketing authorisation: http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Product_Information/human/000604/WC500030170.pdf
Importation of FAKE Aboriginal Arts into Australia
We as First Australian Artists are campaigning and speaking up for our Rights as legitimate Aboriginal Artists and state that ownership, responsibility and control by us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of our cultural heritage is paramount. It is a way of economic empowerment for us as artists who are trying to earn money from selling, reselling and reproducing of our works through sale, copyright and resale royalties and being denied a legitimate income because of this FAKE ART as has been campaigned before. We do not want any more 'Grey areas'We want the Laws changed so that: It is ILLEGAL to IMPORT printed/stamped/hand painted Aboriginal art on Aboriginal cultural artifacts (ie didgeridoos, boomerangs, music/clapping sticks, emu callers, bullroarers etc). All cultural artifacts can only be hand painted in Australia by Aboriginal Artists (certified and approved) It is ILLEGAL to IMPORT hand painted Aboriginal Artworks on canvasses or similar medium. All canvasses of Aboriginal Art can only be hand painted by Aboriginal Artists in Australia and only allowed to be reproduced (printed)) under strict License Agreements. Wholesalers/distributors of Aboriginal Art to keep certificate of Aboriginality for each Aboriginal Artist along with 1 reference from 1 acknowledged Elder to verify the Aboriginality & authenticity of this Artist and this certification must be supplied to every Retailer to be viewed by Law on request and be self-regulated. As Aboriginal Artists, we have no issue with the importation of blank timber for boomerangs, music sticks etc which cannot be sourced in Australia but they must only then be hand painted in Australia by legitimate Aboriginal Artists. Please email them through to email@example.com
Introducing the Right to Remove Personal Information from Search Engines in the U.S.
Stop abusive Hotel Practices
Ever had a Bad Hotel Experience? Planning a family trip can be pretty stressful and the last thing you need is a bad motel / hotel experience. However, its becoming more and more common that you don’t get what you pay for when it comes to booking online. Whether its a change in price, a completely different room, a much lower quality than you expected, or advertising items that are not working or not there at all. TruTV features a short video on how illegal business practices are even spreading to new businesses like Air BnB and are leaving consumers to self enforce the laws. Adam Ruins Everything - Why Your Airbnb May Be ILLEGAL Amazon has been flooded with fake reviews and manipulated product ranking YouTube has also been called out for being flooded with fake views Youtube spokeswoman admits, "There is room for improvement" when it comes to warning users about fraud and abuse. This is not to mention the fake millionaires selling the secret on YouTube and defrauding many consumers out of there money through deceptive marketing tactics. For example, Sam Ovens (currently running many ads on YouTube for his Consulting.com business) presents himself as a millionaire who will teach you the secret, for a very high cost of course. His LinkedIn Profile states that he moved to New York and made $20 Million. The profile also states he started his NY Business in 2013, however a quick search on the NY Corporation and Business Entity Database reveals the company Consulting.com was started in March of 2017. Indeed, archive.org confirms his website was in the development phase in March of 2017. He is one of many on YouTube who extremely misrepresent themselves in order to gain consumer confidence and eventually, their cash! And what is being done about it? When congress demands recommendations, the FTC is too slow in acting to adequately defend consumers. So here we are. What are your Rights as a Consumer? There is a large gap between consumer rights violations and consumer rights awareness. Our proposals seek to close this gap. Proposed Changes; Require online businesses to display the Better Business Bureau rating of their organization or the organization they are marketing. Release a smartphone application similar to the Better Business Bureau’s smartphone application in order to simplify access to consumer rights information AND provide ez file for complaints Our goals with each of these proposed changes; Show consumers a rating that has not been manipulated by travel agencies, property owners, paid reviewers, affiliates, etc. Level the playing field by making consumer rights information and complaint systems easily accessible according to modern standards. i.e smartphone applications We Are Contributing to an Ongoing Effort The Federal Trade Commission have been directed by Congress to produce a report regarding recommended enforcement for online hotel booking markets engaging in deceptive marketing. I want to use this opportunity to bring attention to the larger problem at hand and make recommendations that are in the best interests of the consumer. Click Here to Read the FTC's full report Although their report has already been provided to congress, I want to show support for what the citizens feel should be the response. Our hope is that the report will be updated to reflect the proposals supported by the people. Our dedication is to work with our government, by showing mass support for citizen approved proposals that accurately reflect our needs. Additionally, we want to show our government that we desire a solution that is up to date with todays on-demand culture. According to statista.com, “In 2018, 52 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones.” It only makes sense that our government provides information about consumer rights in a manner that is consistent with how citizens receive information today, which is through our mobile devices. We are Louder Together We live in a world where anything can be publicized and its because of social influence, power is being given back to the people. Let us use our voice together as one and fight to defend our families from illegal business practices. ====== The Story Behind the Petition Our family was planning a reunion and we decided to book a room with Oceana Inn Santa Cruz through booking.com. At the time of reservation, booking.com had Oceana Inn listed with a 7/10 rating. Upon entering the room, we immediately noticed it was not the room advertised on booking.com. I immediately asked for the correct room or a refund. Both were denied. After my experience with the motel, I went to yelp.com and google.com to see Oceana Inn Santa Cruz reviews which ranked the motel at 2/5 stars, which equates to 4/10 stars. There is a significant distinction between the quality you would expect at a 7/10 motel compared to a 4/10 motel. After reading several Yelp reviews for this motel, it became clear that this business has continued to operate for some time now despite several public complaints regarding illegal business practices. What’s the problem here? Consumers are not trained to handle complaints using the proper channels within our government. Instead we are systematically trained to rely on the private sector to handle our complaints and so we turn to online review platforms such as Yelp and Google as a way of getting some resolution to our problem by leaving negative reviews that reflect an honest experience. But who is responsible for monitoring all the bad reviews and doing something about it when there is clearly a pattern of illegal business practices such as false advertising, bait and switch, predatory lending, and so on? Government needs to catch up with how people have decided to speak out! People have been preconditioned to speak out on platforms that do not have the consumer’s interest at its core. That is why I propose the following; Require online businesses to display the Better Business Bureau rating of their organization or the organization they are marketing. Release a smartphone application similar to the Better Business Bureau’s smartphone application in order to simplify access to consumer rights information AND provide ez file for complaints Our goals with each of these proposed changes; Show consumers a rating that has not been manipulated by travel agencies, property owners, paid reviewers, affiliates, etc. Level the playing field by making consumer rights information and complaint systems easily accessible according to modern standards. i.e smartphone applications Our dedication is to work with our government, by showing mass support for citizen approved proposals that accurately reflect our needs. Additionally, we want to show our government that we desire a solution that is up to date with todays on-demand culture.
Standards for Baby Monitors that Stop Them From Being Hacked
Countless parents use baby monitors for their newborns and young children, so that they can hear and see what's going on in a nursery or bedroom while their child sleeps. But those baby monitors are at an unbelievably high risk of being hacked, and used by hackers to spy on and invade the privacy of families. The most recent incident came out of South Carolina, where a mom with a FREDI baby monitor noticed that the monitor's camera was moving without her control. The mom told NPR: "I looked over ... and saw that it was slowly panning over across the room to where our bed was and stopped." She went on to tell NPR that hackers moved the camera to the very spot where she breastfed her son. Alarm bells have been sounding for months on the dangerous risk baby monitors face of being hacked. A research team in March issued findings that showed their team was able to hack into devices like baby monitors with ease -- often only needing 30 minutes to access the devices. "It is truly frightening how easily a criminal, voyeur or pedophile can take over these devices," said Dr. Yossi Oren, one of the researchers. "It only took 30 minutes to find passwords for most of the devices and some of them were found only through a Google search of the brand. Once hackers can access an IoT device, like a camera, they can create an entire network of these camera models controlled remotely." This comes on the heels of another study just a few years ago, where security company Rapid7 published a study showing that baby monitors were missing key safeguards that prevent them from being hacked. "We found that there were, pretty much across the board, some pretty easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities — things that have been already solved in mainstream computing," said Rapid7's director of research. "The fact that there are still no standards around this is a little depressing," he says. "It will keep hackers in business for a long time." It's time to demand standards -- and if the manufacturers of these products won't do it, than the FTC and the Bureau of Consumer Protection should. No parent should have to worry that the monitors they're using to keep their kids safe are being hacked by those who want to spy on a family, invade a family's privacy, or use the baby monitor to steal other personal information. Call for better security standards on baby monitors now.