In December, Carmel Florist was awarded a $1.5 million settlement from the Federal Trade Commission after a lawsuit accused the chain of illegally marketing “fraudulently” selling fraudulent gift cards to customers.
Carmel says it took the FTC action because it believed the company engaged in “grossly deceptive marketing practices.”
But, the company’s attorneys say that it is not the only company that has done so.
According to a recent investigation by Bloomberg, in a similar fashion to Carmel’s case, a number of other retailers have been accused of selling fraudulent cards and other financial products, often with the intent of inflating their value.
This includes Starbucks, which is being sued for allegedly selling cards that are worth $2,000 to $3,000.
According for the FTC, Starbucks’ cards were sold on websites like Ebay, Gumtree, and Craigslist.
In the lawsuit, the FTC alleged that some of the products were “falsified” to make them appear more valuable than they were.
In other cases, the plaintiffs allege that they were pressured into signing up for an online promotion, or were given coupons that were inflated to make the card appear better than they actually were.
This could result in a customer spending thousands of dollars on the card, and losing that money if the card never ships.
Starbucks has said that it does not market any products that are counterfeit.
But some customers are not convinced.
According a BuzzFeed report, “some people have been canceling their cards after receiving fake cards, and others have reported receiving fraudulent charges.”
In February, the Federal Reserve said it was reviewing whether the financial industry needs stricter rules around credit card fraud.
According the report, the Fed is “considering whether to regulate the marketing and sales of counterfeit financial products in the same way that credit cards are regulated.”
And in May, the Wall Street Journal reported that more than half of consumers said they were worried about the future of credit cards after a recent spate of fraudulent charges.
The FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have also recently announced investigations into retailers such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Kohl’s.
In a statement to Vice News, Carml said it had “made every effort to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”
“We have worked closely with the FTC and have taken appropriate steps to address these issues, including conducting an extensive background check and training our employees, including our retail associates,” the statement continued.
Carml has said it is currently evaluating whether to continue selling the cards to people in other countries.
For now, the only thing that customers can do to protect themselves is to use a bank account with an online account, and make sure to set up a separate password for your account and one for the card.