FTC returns $2.3M from online work-at-home scheme
The operation used Google's name to charge customers for a bogus work-at-home service, the agency says
IDG News Service - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has begun mailing 93,086 refund checks totaling nearly $2.3 million to consumers who were allegedly charged hidden fees by a fake work-at-home service that used Google's name to advertise.
The online work-at-home operation, which operated under the names Google Money Tree, Google Pro and Google Treasure Chest, deceptively used Google's name and logo, the FTC said Tuesday. The operation promised that consumers could earn $100,000 in six months after signing up to receive a work-at-home kit for a shipping fee of under $4, according to the FTC and court records.
The operation was not affiliated with Google, the FTC said.
The operation didn't tell consumers that by ordering the work-at-home kit, they were disclosing their account information and would be charged an additional $72.21 each month, the FTC said.
Under a settlement with the FTC, the defendants are banned from selling products through so-called negative option transactions, in which the seller interprets consumers' silence or inaction as permission to charge them. The defendants are also prohibited from making misleading or unsupported claims while marketing or selling any product or service.
The FTC filed a complaint against the operation in July 2009 U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. A final judgment against the operation, including companies Infusion Media and West Coast Internet Media, came in October 2010.
The settlement also required the defendants to surrender cash and other assets, which are being used by the FTC to refund consumers who bought the Google Money Tree, Google Pro, or Google Treasure Chest products.
The FTC Checks mailed the checks on Tuesday. The checks and must be cashed before Nov. 12.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6TB Oracle Ecommerce Stack Deployed on AWS in 7 Days A Fortune 1000 company was told that it would take more than 6 months to deploy their ecommerce stack on AWS. CloudVelocity deployed...
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Planning for Mobile Success Many organizations are seeing clear and quantifiable benefits from the deployment of mobile technologies that provide access to data and applications any time,...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All E-business White Papers | Webcasts