Are You Receiving FTC Refund Checks From These Three Settlements?

On the heels of the FTC’s settlement with the makers of the Snuggie, three more FTC refund settlements have consumers getting at least some of their money back. The Federal Trade Commission is a federal agency holds businesses accountable for reported deceptive advertising and works to get consumers who fall victim to illegal business practices their due justice. To see if you are getting one or more FTC refund checks in the mail soon, read on.

Did you buy weight loss products Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean from Tachht, Inc.? Consumers who purchased these sham weight loss products will be getting justice to the tune of $437,000 in total refund checks. According the FTC, Tachht’s deceptive practices included sending illegal spam emails from hacked email accounts, making it seem like the email came from the consumer’s family member or friend.

“The email messages appeared to be a quick note from a family member or friend, passing along a link to an interesting news story. The links in those email messages led to websites deceptively promoting the defendants’ unproven weight-loss products, such as Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean. These websites deceptively claimed that the defendants’ products could cause weight loss of 17 pounds in 4 weeks, or 41.7lbs in 2.5 months.”

The scheme even used fake endorsements from celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, to market their bogus weight loss products. The FTC has tasked refund administrator, Rust Consulting, to mail out the 18,301 refund checks, which are expected to go out March 15, 2018. If you have questions about this FTC refund, contact 866-207-7028.

In a second FTC refund settlement, more than $489,000 will be dispersed to 10,415 consumers who fell victim to a tax relief scam. American Tax Relief reportedly ripped off consumers by promising that they could lower their tax debts. Under the terms of the settlement, American Tax Relief and its owners are prohibited from telemarketing and selling debt relief services. This is actually the third and final round of payouts in this case, with consumers recouping 16 percent on average of what they paid to ATR. In total, the FTC has issued over $16.4 million in refund settlement checks to nearly 18,600 consumers duped by American Tax Relief.  If you have questions about this FTC refund, you may contact the refund administrator, Gilardi & Co LLC at 1-877-430-3699.

The third FTC refund settlement involves a telemarketing tech support scam. According to the FTC, Advanced Tech Support, also doing business as Inbound Call Experts used high pressured sales tactics to lure hundreds of thousands of consumers into purchasing computer services and technical subscriptions they didn’t actually need. Under the terms of the settlement, Advanced Tech Support will payout $10 million for their deceptive practices. Approximately 36,830 individuals who bought tech support services or other related product from ATS or ICE between April 2012 and November 2014, can expect to receive a partial refund check averaging about $277.44. If you were a victim of this tech support scam and have questions, please contact the refund administrator, Analytics, at 877-793-0908.

The FTC also reminds consumers in these three refund settlements to cash their checks within 60 days. For more information about these FTC refunds and more, you can visit www.FTC.gov/refunds.

Wireless Earbuds Startup Kanoa Accused of Scamming Consumers

A proposed nationwide consumer class action lawsuit is claiming that headphone startup Kanoa swindled hundreds of customers who pre-ordered but never received the company’s wireless earbuds.

Kanoa, a crowdfunded company, promised its customers in-ear wireless headphones with features like Bluetooth technology, a state-of-the-art charging case, and adjustable ambient sound pass-through, but shut its doors after a string of technical problems and a scathing YouTube review detailing several basic flaws with the wireless earbuds.

This didn’t go over too well with plaintiff Wilfredo Cruz Jr., who decided to take legal action against Kanoa. Cruz says he pre-ordered a pair of Kanoa wireless earbuds through the company’s website for $149.00 in February 2016, expecting them to arrive in April 2016. However, he was later informed that the product shipping date would be pushed to Summer 2017.

But in August 2017, Kanoa informed Cruz and other purchasers through a statement on their website that development of the wireless earbuds ceased and that no refunds would be issued to customers who pre-ordered the product.

“Plaintiff and others similarly situated paid valuable consideration to pre-order the Class Products from Defendants and expected to receive the Class Product on or around April 2016, but did not receive it because Defendants ceased development.”

According to the Kanoa wireless earbuds class action lawsuit, Kanoa made no attempt to refund its customers after scrapping plans to develop sell their wireless earbuds.  In fact, Cruz claims he attempted to contact Kanoa through phone calls and email about obtaining a refund for his purchase, but has yet to receive a response.

He now believes that Kanoa deceived and schemed to mislead consumers about the release of their wireless earbuds and has filed a class action lawsuit hoping to recoup his loss for the product he paid for and never received.

“Defendants profit from the sale of the pre-orders of the products. Without [Kanoa’s] representations, many of the consumers would not have purchased their products,” the complaint contends.

The Kanoa wireless earbuds class action lawsuit brings claims of false advertising, unfair business practices, fraud, and various violations of federal and state consumer protection laws. The complaint seeks to certify a nationwide class of all consumers who purchased the Kanoa wireless earbuds and did not receive a refund when the development of the product ceased.

Along with unspecified statutory and punitive damages, Cruz is asking the court to grant an order requiring Kanoa to fully reimburse all consumers and to engage in a corrective advertising campaign regarding the wireless earbuds. Additionally, the class action lawsuit is requesting an injunction mandating the company stop advertising, developing, and selling wireless technology,

Cruz and the proposed class are represented by Todd M. Friedman and Adrian R. Bacon of The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman PC.

The Kanoa Wireless Earbuds False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit is Wilfredo Cruz Jr., et al. v. Kanoa Inc., et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-01476-DAD-JLT, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.