The Department of Education, in an issue paper submitted as part of negotiated rulemaking on its final “borrower defense” rule, is proposing to require schools that use pre-dispute arbitration agreements and class action waivers in agreements with students to provide disclosures to students regarding their use of such agreements and waivers.

The ED’s proposed approach represents a reversal of the ED’s position under the Obama Administration.  In its final “borrower defense” rule issued in November 2016, the ED banned the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements by schools receiving Title IV assistance under the Higher Education Act.  The final rule also prohibited a school from relying on such an agreement to block the assertion of a borrower defense claim in a class action lawsuit.

In November 2017, the ED announced that it was postponing “until further notice” the July 1, 2017 effective date of various provisions of the final rule, including the rule’s provisions banning the use of arbitration agreements and reliance on such agreements to block class claims.  At that time, the ED also announced that it planned to establish two negotiated rulemaking committees, with one committee to develop proposed regulations to revise the “borrower defense” rule and the other to develop proposed revisions to the “gainful employment” rule that became effective in July 2015 and includes requirements for schools to make various disclosures such as graduation rates, earnings of graduates, and student debt amounts. [link to blog]

 

The saga of ITT Educational Services, Inc. appears to be drawing closer to an end, with ITT’s bankruptcy trustee and attorneys for former ITT students entering into a proposed class action settlement that would permanently enjoin the trustee’s “collection, assignment, or transfer” of approximately $560 million in receivables resulting from financing provided by ITT to students to pay for tuition and other costs.  The settlement would also require ITT’s bankruptcy estate to refund nearly $3 million collected on such receivables since the bankruptcy filing.

In February 2014, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against ITT in which it alleged that ITT misled student loan borrowers about job placement rates and salaries after graduation, misrepresented information about accreditation and the transferability of credits, and strong-armed students into high-interest loans that the company knew students would be unable to repay.  In March 2015, the district court rejected ITT’s attempt to obtain a dismissal of the CFPB’s complaint based on a challenge to the CFPB’s constitutionality.  In June 2016, ITT’s attempt to appeal the decision was rejected by the Seventh Circuit, which found that the denial did not qualify as an immediately appealable order.  ITT subsequently announced the closure of all of its campuses and filed for bankruptcy protection.

A class action adversary complaint and class proof of claim were filed in ITT’s bankruptcy case by former ITT students.  The complaint and separate proofs of claim were also filed in the bankruptcy cases of ITT’s subsidiaries, ESI Service Corp. and Daniel Webster College, Inc.  In the adversary complaint and proofs of claim, the former students alleged that ITT and its subsidiaries had engaged in unlawful conduct, including unfair and deceptive recruiting, retention, and financial aid practices.  Under the settlement agreement, the class proofs of claim (which asserted a $7.3 billion class claim against each debtor’s estate) would each be allowed in the amount of $1.5 billion “as a pre-petition, unsecured claim no longer subject to objection or challenge” but made subject to adjustments under certain circumstances, such as if the Department of Education discharges, forgives, or cancels federal student loans owed by students in the settlement class.

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) has announced a change to the way it calculates a controversial annual assessment fee on student loan servicer licensees. The change was made on December 26, 2017 through the adoption of revised emergency rules under the Student Loan Ombudsman Establishment and Servicing Regulation Amendment Act of 2016.

The new rules supersede the emergency rules adopted by the DISB on September 8, 2017. The DISB made only one substantive change: the annual assessment fee due at license renewal has been reduced to $0.50 per borrower residing in the District of Columbia serviced by a servicer. The fee was initially set at $800 plus $6.60 per loanAs we noted in our summary of the emergency rules in September, that assessment fee schedule effectively would have resulted in the Department of Education paying for DISB administrative expenses (generally speaking, the fee would have been nearly as much as the servicing fee paid by ED to federal student loan servicers). A blackline of the revised emergency rules against the rules adopted in September is online here.

The DISB indicated it is continuing to consider the comments it received in the fall following the publication of its initial emergency rules and noted it is making “appropriate revisions to the rules based upon stakeholder concerns.” We expect the DISB to either adopt further revised emergency rules or publish a notice of final rulemaking by April 25, 2018 (the date the emergency rules are scheduled to expire).

As part of its basis for adopting the revised rules on an emergency basis, the DISB repeated its concerns about student loan borrower protections based on the U.S. Department of Education’s amendment, repeal or suspension of certain student loan regulations and guidance. The DISB added that it sought “continuous regulatory coverage” for the multiple entities that have already been approved for licensure and several others that are pending approval.

In addition to Washington, D.C., licensing requirements and business conduct standards specific to student loan servicers currently exist in Connecticut and California, and a new Illinois law will become effective at the end of this year. In light of the broad coverage of recently-enacted state laws requiring servicers of student loans to be licensed and the need for covered entities, which might arguably include guaranty agencies, to comply with varying state-specific requirements, two national trade groups representing higher education finance organizations have written letters to the U.S. Department of Education urging it to issue preemption guidance. Meanwhile, a number of other states, including Washington and New York, are actively pursuing legislation to supervise and regulate student loan servicers and create a student loan advocate or ombudsman position in state government. In Washington state, Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working to advance legislation and recently released a report titled, “Borrowers in Crisis: Student Debt in Washington.” In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has made student loan borrower protection one of the initiatives of his 2018 agenda.

On January 17, 2018, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET, Ballard Spahr attorneys will hold a webinar: What Legal Challenges Will 2018 Bring for Student Loan Originators and Servicers? Click here to register.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has partially lifted a preliminary injunction that prevented the U.S. Department of Education (Department) from placing defaulted student loans with private collection agencies (PCAs).  Following this ruling, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ordered the Department to complete its efforts to reevaluate bids associated with a disputed contract procurement process by January 11, 2018.

The appeal to the Federal Circuit challenged a ruling of Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in consolidated lawsuits brought by several PCAs.  The PCAs challenged the Department’s 2016 award of several large business contracts to collect defaulted student loans.  The Department had stayed the 2016 large business contracts in response to the Government Accountability Office’s recommendation to reopen the contract competition, request and consider amended bids, and make a new award decision.

Despite the government’s self-imposed stay, in May 2017, the Court of Federal Claims issued a preliminary injunction that broadly enjoined the Department from (1) authorizing performance of the 2016 large business contracts, and (2) “transferring work to be performed under the contract at issue in this case to other contracting vehicle to circumvent or moot this bid protest.”  The injunction thus prevented the Department from placing defaulted student loans with PCAs under any other preexisting contracts, including 2014 small business contracts and award term extension (ATE) contracts that rewarded top performers under 2009 contracts.  The Court of Federal Claims asserted the broad injunction was necessary to maintain the status quo.  The court based its injunction ruling on, among other things, an article that stated the CFPB found the value of PCAs to be “highly questionable . . . but unquestionably expensive.”  The Department appealed the injunction ruling.

On August 21, 2017, the CFBP filed an amicus brief in the appeal.  Disagreeing with the Court of Federal Claims—and siding with the Trump Administration—the CFPB asserted that enjoining the Department from placing defaulted loans with PCAs harmed the public.  According to the CFPB, PCAs were a point of contact for borrowers to set up plans to rehabilitate default and, without such rehabilitation, borrowers were not eligible for other federal programs and interest would continue to accrue on loans during the collection delays caused by the injunction.  According to the CFPB “borrowers in default will be better off if they have access to [the Department’s] debt-collection contractors during the pendency of this litigation than if they do not.”

On December 8, 2017, the appellate court lifted the part of the preliminary injunction that barred the Department from “transferring work to be performed under the contract at issue in this case to other contracting vehicles to circumvent or moot this bid protest.”  Thus, the Department can continue to place defaulted loans with PCAs under its preexisting small business and ATE contracts. The appellate court’s ruling still prohibits the Department from authorizing performance of the disputed 2016 contracts.

The case continues to proceed in the district court before Judge Thomas C. Wheeler.  (Judge Braden transferred the case to Judge Wheeler on November 20, 2017 for “the efficient administration of justice.”)  On December 12, 2017, Judge Wheeler held a status conference to discuss allocation of the Department’s backlog of accounts in light of the ongoing injunction, as well as the status of the Department’s corrective action to reevaluate amended bids for the 2016 large business contracts.  The Department had previously advised that it intended to complete its corrective action by August 24, 2017—a deadline that expired more than three months ago.  At the status conference, the government’s counsel declined to provide the court with a new date certain for completion.  Instead, he reported that the Education Department was in the “final stages,” with the Source Selection Authority “in the process of determining which offerors will and will not receive final awards.”

Following the conference, Judge Wheeler noted his displeasure with the pace of the Department’s corrective action.  He ordered the Source Selection Authority to make its final award decisions and complete the corrective action by January 11, 2018.

The Department of Education (ED) has apparently declined a request by 39 members of Congress to reinstate the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between ED and the CFPB.  The members of Congress, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ranking Democratic member Patty Murray, penned a September 14th letter just one week after CFPB Director Richard Cordray made a similar request. ED had based the termination of the MOUs on the Bureau’s failure to forward Title IV federal student loan complaints and its issuance of guidance that conflicted with ED directives.

ED’s November 13th response, addressed to Senator Murray and signed by Acting Undersecretary James Manning, emphasized that the only statutory authority explicitly referencing the CFPB’s oversight of federal student loans pertains to ED’s coordination of complaint handling with the Bureau’s Private Education Loan Ombudsman. ED’s response further echoed its termination letter by reiterating that the rescission of the MOUs was warranted by the CFPB’s failure to direct nearly 13,000 federal student loan complaints to ED for resolution or to share servicers’ responses to such complaints. In particular, ED noted that the Bureau’s handling of complaints was the cause of “unnecessary confusion for borrowers” regarding the rules governing their loans.

The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate have voted to override the veto by the state’s Republican governor of Senate Bill 1351, known as the Illinois Student Loan Servicing Rights Act.  The override means that the new law will become effective on December 31, 2018.  The bill was drafted by the office of Lisa Madigan, the Democratic Illinois Attorney General, and had strong Democratic support in the state’s House and Senate.

The Act includes the following key provisions:

  • Licensing. The Act makes it unlawful “for any person to operate as a student loan servicer in Illinois except as authorized by this Act and without first having obtained a license in accordance with this Act.”   For purposes of the Act,  a “student loan” includes federal and private student loans, including loans to refinance a student loan.  The Act contains exclusions for various types of entities, such as federal- or state-chartered banks, and for open-end credit and loans secured by real property or a dwelling.  Credit extended by a postsecondary school is also excluded if the credit term is no longer than the borrower’s school program, the remaining principal balance at the time of the borrower’s graduation or completion of the program is less than $1,500 ,or the borrower failed to graduate or successfully complete the program and had a balance due at the time of disenrollment.  The Act authorizes the Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation, or his or her designee, to license and supervise servicers and issue implementing regulations.
  • Servicing Practices. Article 5 of the Act, titled “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” prohibits certain servicing practices and imposes various requirements.  The Act authorizes the Attorney General to enforce a violation of Article 5 as an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.  Article 5 prohibits a servicer from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practice toward any borrower or cosigner or misrepresenting or omitting any material information in connection with servicing a loan.   A servicer is also prohibited from misapplying payments to the loan balance and is required to oversee third parties to ensure their compliance with Article 5 when working on the servicer’s behalf.  In addition, Article 5 contains provisions addressing the following specific areas:
    • Payment processing. Provisions include a requirement for prompt and accurate crediting of payments, a prohibition on charging a penalty if within 90 days of a change in address, a payment is received at a previous address, and a requirement to allow borrowers or cosigners to provide instructions for applying payments.
    • Fees. Unless otherwise provided by federal law, a servicer can only charge late fees that are reasonable and proportional to the cost it incurred related to the late payment and cannot charge a borrower or cosigner for modifying, deferring, forbearing, renewing, extending, or amending a loan.
    • Billing statements. A servicer is prohibited from misrepresenting various items of information in billing statements or information “regarding the $0 bill and advancement of the due date on any billing statement that reflects $0 owed.”
    • Payment histories. A servicer must provide a written payment history to a borrower or cosigner at no cost within 21 days of receiving a request.
    • Specialized assistance. A servicer must “specially designate servicing and collections personnel deemed repayment specialists who have received enhanced training related to repayment options.”  The  Act contains a definition of “federal loan borrower eligible for referral to a repayment specialist” that covers a borrower who has certain specified characteristics such as a borrower who requests information about options to reduce or suspend payments, has missed 2 consecutive payments, or is at least 75 days delinquent.  Servicers must provide specified information to such borrowers and make certain assessments regarding available payment options and are prohibited from implementing any compensation plan that incentivizes a repayment specialist to violate the Act.
    • Disclosures related to discharge and  cancellation.  Servicers must make disclosures information related to the Department of Education’s procedures for asserting a defense to repayment or claiming a discharge to borrowers eligible to assert such a defense or claim a discharge.
    • Income-driven repayment plan certifications.  A servicer must disclose the date a borrower’s income-driven payment plan certification expires and the consequences, including the new repayment amount, of failing to recertify.
    • Information provided to private student loan borrowers. A servicer’s website must provide a description of any alternative repayment plan offered by the servicer for private student loans.  The servicer must establish policies and procedures for evaluating private student loan alternative repayment arrangement requests and such arrangements must consider certain specified information.
    • Cosigner release. A servicer’s website must provide information on the availability and criteria for the release of cosigners on private student loans.
    • Payoff statements.  A servicer’s website must indicate that a borrower can request a payoff statement.  The servicer must provide a statement within 10 days, including information needed for the requester to pay off the loan, and must send a paid-in-full notice within 30 days of a payoff.
    • Transfer of servicing. The Act requires specified information to be provided by a transferor and transferee servicer within a specified time period, prohibits the charging of late fees and interest and furnishing of negative credit information in connection with certain payments made after a transfer of servicing, requires prompt transfer of payments received by a transferor servicer, and requires a transferee servicer to establish a process for a borrower to authorize recurring electronic fund transfers (unless the borrower’s authorization was automatically transferred to the transferee servicer.)
    • Requests for assistance and account dispute resolution. A servicer must implement policies and procedures for dealing effectively and timely with requests for assistance that meet certain specified requirements, including providing information about submitting such requests on its website, responding to such requests within specified time frames, and implementing a process for a requester to escalate such a request.  When a request for assistance contains an account dispute, a servicer must comply with specified dispute resolution procedures that must include a process for a requester to appeal a servicer’s determination.  The Act contains requirements that the appeal process must satisfy.
  •  Ombudsman. The Act creates the position of Student Loan Ombudsman within the Attorney General’s office “to provide timely assistance to student loan borrowers.”  The Ombudsman’s responsibilities include attempting to resolve complaints from student loan borrowers and compiling and analyzing complaint data.

 

 

 

 

The CFPB has issued a “50-state snapshot of student debt,” which provides student debt data on a state-by-state basis.

The report states that the complaint data “reflects over 50,000 student loan complaints and over 10,000 debt collection complaints related to private or federal student loan debt, submitted through September 30, 2017.”  The CFPB began accepting private student loan complaints in March 2012, debt collection complaints in July 2013, and federal student loan servicing complaints in February 2016.

For each state, the report indicates:

  • Total student loan complaints handled
  • Change in volume of student loan complaints handled
  • Total debt collection complaints handled related to student loans
  • Change in volume of debt collection complaints handled related to student loans
  • Total outstanding student loan debt balance as of 2016

The percentage changes in complaints volume set forth in the report compare October 2015 through September 2016 with October 2016 to September 2017.  The CFPB notes that “part of this year-to-year increase can be attributed to the CFPB updating its student loan complaint form to accept complaints about federal student loan servicing, starting in late February 2016.  The Bureau also initiated an enforcement action against a large student loan servicer during the time period covered by the report.”

The total outstanding student debt loan balance is taken from the CFPB’s analysis of State Level Household Debt Statistics from 1999 to 2016 issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in May 2017.

For each state, the CFPB provides a map showing the number of complaints by type (student loan or debt collection) by geocoded zipcode.

The District of Columbia Student Loan Ombudsman Establishment and Servicing Regulation Act of 2016 (Servicing Act) became effective February 18, 2017.  The Servicing Act set an October 1 deadline for the Student Loan Ombudsman to prepare course materials to help borrowers understand their student loans and to draft a separate student loan Bill of Rights.  While the course materials apparently have not yet been released, the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) did release its “Student Loan Borrower’s Bill of Rights” on October 11.

The list of specific rights set forth by the DISB is preceded by the following statement:

Student loan borrowers in the District of Columbia deserve a loan repayment process built on fairness, professionalism, and transparency. This bill of rights sets out the basic principles and protections that borrowers can rely on as they work to reduce their student debt. Beyond that, student loan servicers in the District are expected to uphold these key tenets with respect to all student loan borrowers and each student loan they service.

The Bill of Rights contains five articles as follows:

  • Article I: Transparent Pricing and Terms – Rates must be disclosed transparently pursuant to the Truth in  Lending Act requirements, there can be no hidden fees, plain-English terms should be used to describe key terms, and pricing and other key terms should be presented clearly and prominently.
  • Article 2: Receive Non-Abusive Products – There should be no debt traps, no “double-dipping” (i.e. no fees can be charged on the borrower’s outstanding principal when refinancing or modifying a loan with a fixed-fee as the primary financing charge unless there is tangible cost benefit to the borrower), and the design of loan products should be consistent with their use.
  • Article 3: Fair and Responsible Underwriting – Financing should be only offered only with high confidence in the borrower’s ability to repay, loans should be aligned with borrower interests and  be right-sized, and servicers and lenders should engage in responsible credit reporting.
  • Article 4: Fair Collection Practices – Servicers should abide by the spirit of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, must  vet and oversee the collection practices of third-party collectors and debt buyers, and must maintain and communicate accurate loan information.
  • Article 5: Quality Customer Service – Servicers should provide a confirmation of receipt of a complaint in writing (within five days when possible), research and resolve every complaint in a timely manner, and take proactive steps to inform borrowers of relevant organizational changes that could affect loan repayment, consumer interaction with the servicer, or the transfer of the borrower’s account.  Borrowers shall not be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation or identity, or any other protected classification.

Oddly, the Bill of Rights does not appear to be based on student loan servicing principles articulated by other regulators.  Instead, it seems to borrow copiously from principles for the origination, servicing, and collection of small business loans adopted by the Responsible Business Lending Coalition, a network of for-profit and non-profit lenders, brokers and small business advocates.  Accordingly, because it is not based on anything involving student loan servicing, the Bill of Rights may be on shaky legal ground.

The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER), a national trade association representing higher education finance organizations, has raised questions with the DISB regarding the application of some of the requirements of the Bill of Rights to student loan lenders, as opposed to servicers, which arguably goes far beyond the activities authorized by Congress in approving the Servicing Act given that D.C. laws must be approved by Congress, and has likewise raised questions regarding the conflicts between the requirements of the Bill of Rights and the provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), which arguably preempt those requirements.  In July 2017, NCHER wrote to the Department of Education to express concern about the broad coverage of recently-enacted state laws requiring servicers of student loans to be licensed and the need for covered entities, which can include guaranty agencies, to comply with varying state-specific requirements that, in some cases, are contrary to the HEA.  In its letter, NCHER urged the ED to issue preemption guidance that would clearly state that “federal student loan servicers and guaranty agencies are governed by the Department’s rules and requirements and those of other federal agencies, and preempt state and local laws and actions that purport to regulate the activities of participants in the federal student loan programs, including federal contractors.”

Meanwhile, the DISB continues to accept Student Loan Servicer License applications.  As we have previously reported, the Servicing Act directed the DISB to issue rules implementing its licensing provisions within 180 days of the Act’s effective date.  Although it did not meet that deadline, the DISB started to accept applications and transition filings for the Student Loan Servicer License on the National Mortgage Licensing System on August 10, 2017.  After nearly a month of accepting Student Loan Servicer License applications, the DISB released a Notice of Emergency and Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Act.  The Student Loan Servicer emergency rules were adopted and made effective September 8, 2017.  The emergency rules still have not been published in the D.C. Register, however, meaning that the deadline for comments has yet to be established.  In its notice setting forth the Student Loan Borrower’s Bill of Rights, the DISB did indicate that it began licensing student loan servicers effective September 8, 2017.

 

 

The CFPB has released the sixth annual report of the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman containing an analysis of approximately 12,900 federal student loan complaints, 7,700 private student loan complaints, and 2,300 debt collection complaints related to private or federal student loans handled by the CFPB between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017.  The CFPB began taking complaints about federal student loans in February 2016. (The number of complaints handled by the CFPB continues to represent an exceedingly low complaint rate given the millions of federal and private student loans outstanding.)  The report also provides examples of how consumer complaints have resulted in beneficial changes for borrowers and makes recommendations to policymakers and market participants.

In the section of the report analyzing complaint data, the CFPB highlights various issues raised by consumers, including the following:

  • Federal student loans. The CFPB states that consumers submitted complaints “against over 150 companies covering nearly every aspect of the student loan repayment cycle.”  Among the issues raised by consumers deemed “most significant” by the CFPB are: problems accessing federal student loan protections such as income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, including obstacles encountered when seeking to enroll in an IDR plan or attempting to recertify an IDR plan, and servicing-related problems experienced by “vulnerable” borrowers, such as disabled borrowers receiving Social Security disability payments and military borrowers.
  • Private student loans. The CFPB discusses complaints involving limited options for payment relief during periods of financial hardship; difficulties accessing advertised loan benefits and protections such as interest rate reductions for on-time payments; inadequate information about cosigner release qualification; and the failure of servicers to allocate payments according to borrower instructions.
  • Debt collection. The CFPB discusses complaints involving aggressive or hostile debt collector tactics and debt collector practices that delay the borrower’s ability to start a rehabilitation program and cure a default.

In the “Ombudsman’s discussion” section of the report, the CFPB touts its “efficient and thoughtful approach to handling consumer complaints” and observes that the functionality of its complaint system “is unmatched by any other federal or state agency complaint system.”  The discussion focuses on three examples of how “individual consumer complaints led to increased scrutiny by a regulator or law enforcement agency with the authority, tools, and will to take action on behalf of borrowers, after these complaints were highlighted by the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman.”

The three examples consist of:

  • Military servicemember borrower complaints regarding SCRA benefits that resulted in enforcement actions by the DOJ and FDIC and the implementation of an automated process by the Department of Education (ED) for identifying borrowers eligible for SCRA interest rate reductions.
  • Federal student loan borrower complaints about servicing practices related to the process of applying for and enrolling in IDR plans that resulted in the Ombudsman’s August 2016 report on challenges encountered by borrowers in pursuing rights to affordable payments under the Higher Education Act; CFPB examiners citing student loan servicers for unlawful practices in connection with IDR plan applications; and the ED’s strengthening of its contractual requirements relating to IDR plan applications for servicers handling federal student loans for the federal government.
  • Private student loan borrower complaints about “auto-defaults” resulting in the Ombudsman’s highlighting problems relating to auto-defaults in its 2014 annual report; CFPB examiners citing student loan servicers for unlawful practices in connection with auto-defaults; and changes by industry participants relating to auto-defaults such as the removal or modification of contract provisions that could be interpreted to permit auto-defaults.

The report includes a recommendation for the adoption of “industrywide standards to strengthen servicing practices, coupled with robust oversight across federal and state agencies” as a way to “help shape a student loan repayment process that meets borrowers’ needs by ensuring that borrowers are treated fairly, that they can access the benefits and protections guaranteed under law or contract, and that they can successfully satisfy their student debt.”

Last Friday, as expected, the FTC announced the launch of a coordinated federal-state law enforcement initiative targeting deceptive student loan debt relief companies.  According to the FTC, 11 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the initiative, which is being called “Operation Game of Loans.”  The participating states are Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington,

The initiative includes seven FTC actions, including an action filed by the FTC earlier this month in Florida federal court, and 29 actions by state AGs.