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USA: Search Engines ordered to stop misleading mortgage relief ads

The Making Home Affordable Program aims at helping eligible home-owners to refinance or modify their mortgages, so that they can afford to stay in their homes. The official website ( provides information about the program. Starting in April 2009 misleading ads appeared on search engines. When consumers searched for "making home affordable", ads were shown that displayed the web address But when they clicked on the ad, they were not directed to the government web site, but instead to another web site offering loan modification services for a fee. The FTC filed a lawsuit against unknown parties, because the defendants are not identified in the ads. At their request, the District Court for the District of Columbia issued a temporary restraining order that requires four search engine providers (among them Google and Yahoo) to identify those who placed the ads and to refuse ads containing or any other domain name containing .gov.

The documents related to the case can be found at:




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