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Deceptive Misrepresentation

Herbalife Event

Herbalife has a system which it touts as a way to success: sell its products, recruit others to do the same, and attend its live events. The complaint quotes a speaker as saying, “If you go to all the events, you qualify for everything—you will get rich.” According to the complaint, the events consist primarily of testimonials, which the complaint calls “emotionally manipulative” stories of “former dropouts, vagrants, bartenders, flight attendants, nurses, teachers, single mothers, used car salesmen, bus drivers, and college volleyball players–each of whom has achieved astounding success through Herbalife and through religious attendance of Circle of Success events.” The complaint describes “[l]ong scripted days of income claims accompanied by loud music, shouting, clapping, hugging, and crying” that “move the prospect toward ‘I can do this!’” However, the complaint lays out the improper ways in which some of the successful actually make their money.

Tiger Natural Gas

When plaintiff Emily Fishman received a call offering her a new and purportedly cheaper gas program, it must have sounded like a good deal. According to the complaint, the representative claimed that a rate hike of 18.8% had already begun with her current supplier, PG&E, and that PG&E had also been granted another of 33% over the next three years. The complaint claims that the rep offered a variable rate program with Tiger Natural Gas that was free and capped at 69 cents per therm. Fishman signed up to receive her gas from Tiger, but after nine months, the complaint says, she had paid far more for gas than she would have paid with PG&E, plus a “daily charge” that Tiger had never mentioned.

Blue Agave Plant

American Sugar Refining, Inc. sells its “Organic Agave Nectar” under the brand names Domino, C&H, and Florida Crystals. The complaint for this class action alleges that the products are deceptively labeled, marketed, and advertised, listing the sole ingredient as organic agave nectar and carrying the USDA label for an organic product, while in fact testing shows that they contain a non-natural, non-organic ingredient: isomaltose, a component found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other non-natural, non-organic sweeteners.

Antique Mahogany Desk

Home Depot calls itself the “world’s largest home improvement retailer,” and, according to the complaint, it encourages consumers to trust the expertise of the “highly trained staff.” However, the complaint claims that the company’s stores in California sell various dimensions, colors, and forms of lumber which the store calls mahogany, but which are not. Real mahogany is among the finest cabinetry wood in the world, prized for its beauty, durability, and reddish color, as well as for its outstanding characteristics in woodworking, like cutting, shaping, tuning, and sanding. Authentic mahogany comes from the Meliaceae family, the complaint says, but the “mahogany” at Home Depot is actually eucalyptus, which comes from the Myrtaceae family, or another wood from the Fabaceae family.

iPhone and Uber

Uber has consented to settle a class action alleging that it made misrepresentations or omissions in explaining its Safe Rides Fee and its background check process for drivers.

Ladder Climbing Out of Debt

When Jefferson Capital Systems (JCS) and Capital Management Services (CMS) tried to collect on a debt allegedly owed by plaintiff Rosita McCamey, the complaint claims, the collection letter they sent did not make clear that the debt was time-barred and that they could not sue her for the debt or report it to collection agencies. The complaint alleges that this was a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Debt Collection

When Dylan Mutty received a debt collection letter, on or about March 15, 2017, he might have thought it contained a valuable offer. According to the complaint, the letter, from Midland Credit Management, Inc. (MCM), offered him 40% off the amount owed if he paid by a certain date, and 20% off if he initiated a series of installment payments. Unfortunately, the complaint alleges that the letter was deliberately misleading about both the debt and the effect of even a single payment on the debt’s status, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA). The debt was in fact stale, and MCM was not entitled to sue to collect, but a single payment from Mutty might have revived MCM’s right to sue.

Debt

Debt collection letters must contain certain information and must not contain misrepresentations, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). But this complaint claims that plaintiff David Stineman received a form letter with a misleading statement from Firstsource Advantage, on behalf of LVNV Funding, attempting to collect an alleged debt pertaining to a First Premier Bank credit card account. According to the complaint, the letters stated that LVNV “will not” sue or report the debt to credit reporting agencies, but it left open the question of whether Firstsource would sue, and did not make clear that neither company could take these actions because the debt was time-barred.

Debt and Credit

When the Credit Bureau of Louisiana (CBL) sent a letter dated August 1, 2016 to plaintiff Jacob Overby to collect a debt, the complaint for this class action says, CBL misrepresented itself, thereby violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. According to the complaint, the letter made CBL sound like a credit reporting agency, thus violating the FDCPA.

Debt with Open Shackle

Among the things the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) forbids is using misleading representations to get consumers to pay up. The complaint for this class action alleges that Convergent Outsourcing and Pinnacle Credit Services did exactly that in trying to collect a debt from plaintiff Debbie Constantine, by failing to make clear that the debt was already time-barred in the state of Alabama and that no one could sue her for it or report the delinquency to credit reporting agencies.

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