Easy Money—Rarely Is

The FTC just won a court judgment against three get-rich-quick schemes that promised big dollars in real estate in return for minimal investments. These schemes typically target financially stressed consumers. Here is the story: http://www.nclc.org/conferences-training/consumer-rights-litigation-conference.html

The promises were the same ones you hear over and over, little to no money down and lots of money in return. The problem, less than one percent of the consumers that buy into the product ever see a return on the investment like the expectations the scheme creates. Oftentimes, these schemes bring you in for a small investment into their system and then give a hard sell to suck you into buying on their add-on products and “personal coaching” that really costs you.

The action by the FTC was against the marketers behind the infomercials for “John Beck’s Free & Clear Real Estate System,” “John Alexander’s Real Estate Riches in 14 Days,” and “Jeff Paul’s Shortcuts to Internet Millions.”

Misrepresentations in the Employment Relationship—By the Employer

Did you know that Wisconsin law prohibits an employer and anyone acting on its behalf from making misrepresentations to an employee or prospective employee with the intent or for the purpose of inducing the public to enter into any contract or other obligation relating to the terms of employment?
Seldom used for this purpose, but Wisconsin Statutes 100.18, part of Wisconsin’s Marketing and Trade Practices protections, prohibits such misrepresentations in many consumer transactions and the employment context. If someone suffers pecuniary loss–generally a financial loss—he or she can a claim that can be enforced in the civil courts of Wisconsin for that loss plus the costs of the action and a reasonable attorney’s fee. If there was a prior injunction in place as to the offending conduct, then the injured consumer may recover twice his or her pecuniary loss.
Wisconsin Statues 103.43 has similar prohibitions specific to misrepresentations made to induce someone to leave one job for another, but typically applies in manual labor settings.
This law, if applied in the employment context, could cover false statements of wages, salary and other employment compensation or benefits. It could also cover situations where the employer promises a position without ever intending to actually hire the consumer. These inquiries, and whether the law would provide any remedy, are very fact specific to each circumstance.

Unfair Practice in Wisconsin for Dealer Not to Stock an Advertised Car

Under Wisconsin law, Wis. Admin. Code Trans 139.03(10), a car dealer may not advertise a car or type of car for sale unless it has available, for delivery within a reasonable time, a quantity of the advertised cars sufficient to meet “reasonably anticipated demands,” unless the advertisement itself clearly states the quantity available or time of delivery.