Federal Trade Commission and State of Colorado File Against Russell T. Dalbey & Associated Companies

Back in February of 2011, the Better Business Bureau made this statement regarding Russ Dalbey’s “Dalbey Education Institute”:

“As part of the BBB’s continual monitoring of Dalbey Education Institute’s advertising, in February 2011, the BBB opened a formal advertising review case to make specific requests based on the BBB Code of Advertising. The BBB is specifically reviewing Dalbey Education Institute’s infomercials, Web sites and direct-mail marketing. The BBB has had concerns about sales practices and overall representations conveyed in the company’s advertising. Dalbey Education Institute has been working with the BBB to make changes in accordance with BBB Code of Advertising guidelines. The BBB review and updates to the company’s advertising are ongoing.”

On 4/12/2011 RipoffReport made the following statement regarding Russ Dalbey:

“SPECIAL UPDATE: April 12, 2011: Russ Dalbey remains committed to increased customer satisfaction and has improved their business practices over the years to better serve their customers. Russ Dalby is truly dedicated to making sure their customers are satisfied and that any complaints which do arise are addressed promptly and fairly.”

You can read the full endorsment of Russ Dalbey’s business practices at Ripoff Report here.

On 5/26/2011 the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Colorado filed a complaint against “Russell T. Dalbey, DEI, LLLP, Dalbey Education Institute, LLC, IPME, LLLP, Catherine L. Dalbey and Marsha Kellogg”.

Click here for the Justia listing of this case.

The FTC has not published a news release on this case as of 5/28/2011.

FTC Seeking Action Against 10 Operators Of Fake News Sites

Summary Of Recent FTC Press Release:

Seeking action against 10 operators of fake news sites for making misleading claims about acai berry weight loss products, the Federal Trade Commission is requesting federal courts to halt the deceptive marketing tactics being used by those marketers. To put a permanent stop to this misleading marketing strategy, the Federal Trade Commission has asked courts to freeze the operations’ assets pending trial. The FTC complaints accuse the defendants of operating websites that appear to be parts of legitimate news gathering organizations, but apparently are not. Those alleged fake news sites are said to have typical names like “News 6 News Alerts,” “Health News Health Alerts,” or “Health 5 Beat Health News” and more often than not, the sites bear the names and logos of reputed media outlets which include ABC, Fox News, CBS, CNN, USA Today, and Consumer Reports to name a few. Falsely representing that reports on the fake sites have appeared on those well known networks, the sites contain articles with headlines that sound investigative and impressive and the articles claim that the products really work.

After receiving plenty of complaints from consumers about the weight loss products they had spent about $70 to $100 on, the FTC has accused the sites of making allegedly misleading claims about the acai berry products. The complaints made by FTC include a lot of issues that could get the operators of those false sites in serious trouble. First off, those sites are filled to the brim with claims which are believed to be deceptive by the Commission. The fact that the acai berry supplements will cause rapid and substantial weight loss is unsupported and this makes the commission suspect the sites even more. And the defendants have also been accused of deceptively representing their websites to be objective news reports. The independent tests demonstrating the effectiveness of the product have been seriously doubted and the Commission has also blamed the defendants of committing the grave mistake of falsely representing comments in response to the articles on their websites to reflect the views of independent consumers. To top it all, the defendants fail to disclose their financial relationships to the merchants selling the products.

According to FTC’s complaints, everything on the website is fake from the weight loss results to the so-called investigations to the site itself. The reporters, the consumer testimonials, and even the comments following the articles on the websites have been claimed to be marketing content and not an individual customer’s views about the product. The Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection concurs, saying “Almost everything about these sites is fake.” With the complaint made, FTC hopes to see strict action carried out against the defendants. The commission will ask the courts to permanently stop the defendants from making such deceptive claims and it also aims to see companies refunding the money of the consumers who purchased the supplements and other products from them. To help consumers distinguish and avoid those allegedly deceptive claims, the FTC has come up with a new consumer alert. The commission has also brought forth a new video that underscores the risks of free trials.

The FTC has filed 10 complaints and requested for temporary restraining orders in six federal courts. The outcome of the case is yet to be seen.

Original Release is here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/04/fakenews.shtm

FTC Steps Up Efforts Against Scams That Target Financially-Strapped Consumers

More Than 90 Actions Brought By Commission and Its Law Enforcement Partners

The Federal Trade Commission today stepped up its ongoing campaign against scammers who falsely promise guaranteed jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to consumers who are struggling with unemployment and diminished incomes as a consequence of the economic downturn.

“Operation Empty Promises,” a multi-agency law enforcement initiative today announced more than 90 enforcement actions, including three new FTC cases and developments in seven other matters, 48 criminal actions by the Department of Justice (many of which involved the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service), seven additional civil actions by the Postal Inspection Service, and 28 actions by state law enforcement agencies in Alaska, California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Click here for the original FTC News Release