Category Archives: Disclosures

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FTC Throws the Works at iWorks and Obtains Partial Summary Judgment on Online Advertising Issues

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada granted partial summary judgment for the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) against Jeremy Johnson and a number of related corporate entities collectively referred to as “iWorks,” offering a glimpse into how the FTC and the courts analyze certain online advertising issues. The FTC first … Continue Reading

FTC Shines High Beams on Warranty Claims

A recent Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settlement with BMW serves as a good reminder to take a fresh look at Mag-Moss compliance for all companies offering warranties. The FTC’s business guidance provides a helpful checklist to make sure your warranty program is all tuned up. BMW for its MINI Coopers offered a 4-year or 50,000-mileage … Continue Reading

FTC Dishes Out ROSCA Complaint with Focus on Disclosures

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “the Commission”) has clearly subscribed to enforcing ROSCA recently.  On Tuesday, the FTC filed a complaint against DIRECTV’s negative option program and contract pricing structure under Section 5 of the FTC Act and ROSCA. In the complaint, the FTC alleged that DIRECTV required customers to agree to a mandatory … Continue Reading

And the Oscar Goes to . . . the FTC?

February 22, 2015, marked the 87th Academy Awards ceremony.  Some people tuned in because they love the movies, others for the fashion and celebrities, but, as for me, I watched it with my wife and was simply counting the minutes until “The Walking Dead” came on.  As I watched the celebrities work the red carpet, … Continue Reading

BBB Updates Advertising Code to Keep Pace with Technology

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), known for being the home of NAD, CARU and other advertising self-regulatory forums, is now also the proud owner of an updated advertising code.  The BBB announced earlier this month significant updates to its Code of Advertising for the first time since 1985 (when the number one single was “Careless … Continue Reading

Compliance Trends for Online Marketers

Looking back 2014 was a year of increased government scrutiny and compliance obligations for lead generators and online marketers, and so, for 2015, advertisers will need to ramp up compliance.  Avoiding banned terms, better use of disclosures, and other web and contact center compliance enhancements – with at least some reports of 66% of website … Continue Reading

Do Not Shoot Yourself in the Foot by Making Admissions in Your Disclaimer

There may come a time (but hopefully not) where you need to write a website disclaimer, email, Facebook post, whatever trying to dispel consumer confusion and head off an advertising lawsuit.  How might you do that?  Keep editing if your first draft looks something like this:  “We have learned that some customers are confused and … Continue Reading

Your Websites Terms of Service are Unenforceable

The vast majority of Terms of Service (TOS) on websites are unenforceable. Companies spend a great deal of time and money in crafting what they believe to be appropriate website specific TOS which they hope will provide them with the various protections, safe harbors and advantages needed in dealing with the public or in transacting … Continue Reading

FTC: Unlimited Means Unlimited

Defining unlimited is a metaphysical exercise worthy of a Cosmos or at least a Big Bang episode.  We have blogged before about the meaning of “lifetime supply” and “free.”  But the FTC is very literal when it comes to defining the bounds of limitless and concludes that, well, unlimited means unlimited. The FTC has just … Continue Reading

Live (almost) from New York, It’s the NAD Annual Conference

We are close to live blogging from the annual NAD Advertising Law Conference and for those who could not join us, we wanted to share highlights from its opening — keynote speaker FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.  The FTC typically uses this conference to lay out its enforcement priorities relevant to national advertisers and gives us … Continue Reading

FTC Gives Cole Haan’s Contest the #Boot

On March 20, 2014, the FTC issued a closing letter to Cole Haan that will affect all kinds of advertisers (and advertisements) on social media.  In particular, it will impact the way that brands interact with users on Pinterest and tell their users to use hashtags in contests and other types of promotions.  So advertisers, … Continue Reading

Come for the Game; Stay for the Commercials: Celebrities Dominate Super Bowl

Every year, we look forward to the Super Bowl.  For the commercials.  Our friends and family laugh at us, but they get it since advertising law is what we do.  This year, when the game did not prove to be an equal match up, after exhausting the wing and nacho bowl, many others turned to … Continue Reading

ASA v ECJ: Is a misleading advertising claim still misleading if you’ve undertaken due diligence?

Editor’s Note: As promised, here is an update on ASA Developments from our friends at Lewis Silkin LLP. We were very interested in this case development from the UK around the issue of whether good faith reliance on a third party’s representations is sufficient due diligence to support claims. Below you will find an alert … Continue Reading

Ad Agency Liability Lives: The FTC Holds Ad Agency Liable for Deceptive Advertising

A recent settlement over deceptive advertising with the FTC may have advertising agency executives and their attorneys asking the same question as the bystander in the challenged advertisement: “Oh man, no way. Are you kidding?” For years advertising agencies have seemed to fly blissfully under the FTC’s radar, but the FTC’s settlement with Nissan North … Continue Reading

Do You See Better, Worse or the Same with this Regulation or with that One?

On December 4 before a packed house, the FTC held its much-anticipated workshop on native advertising, Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content?, which examined the practice of blending of advertisements with news, entertainment, and other editorial content in digital media.  And like Robin Thicke’s summer hit itself, the FTC’s workshop raised a lot of questions (and … Continue Reading

NAD Again Finds Colorable Concerns Regarding Disclosure Obligations in Social Media

As we have written before, NAD is using its monitoring of advertising function to bring cases examining native advertising.  And on the eve of the FTC’s upcoming workshop on native advertising the NAD has made its views in this area known again in another monitoring case. While much of what NAD does is involves competitive, … Continue Reading

Innovative Financial Disclosures

Editor’s Note: Today the CFPB published in the Federal Register details regarding an innovative program for testing online disclosures, and we have dedicated two blog posts written by fellow Venable attorneys to this subject. Do you represent twenty-first century clients that offer consumer financial products or services?  Perhaps their offerings are available online and via mobile.  Or … Continue Reading

Trial Disclosure Program Announced by CFPB Allows In-Market Testing

Readers of this blog know that market testing can be one of the most efficient ways to gauge the viability of an advertising and marketing pitch.  Financial institutions can now take advantage of a program launched by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) that permits companies to market test pre-approved disclosures about consumer financial products. … Continue Reading