Category Archives: FTC

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Loan Comparison Lead Gen Site Settles with FTC over Deceptive Pay-to-Play Practices

Last week, the FTC entered into a settlement with LendEDU, a lead generation website that compares and ranks student loan and other financial products, and three of its officers. According to the FTC, LendEDU heavily promoted its website to consumers as offering “objective,” “accurate,” and “unbiased” product information, when, instead, it offered higher rankings and … Continue Reading

FTC Aims to Shake Up Endorsements, Seeks Public Comment on Its Endorsement Guides

The FTC has issued a Proposed Notice requesting public comment on whether to make changes to its Endorsement Guides (“Guides”) as part of the agency’s periodic retrospective review. This review will serve as a key opportunity for industry participants to shape what happens next by showing what they are seeing in the marketplace when it … Continue Reading

A Constitutional Challenge to Watch: Axon Sets Its Sight on the Structure of the FTC

On January 3, 2019, Axon Enterprise, Inc. (“Axon”), a manufacturer of body-worn cameras for law enforcement, filed a complaint against the Federal Trade Commission seeking a declaratory judgment in the District of Arizona. In the complaint, Axon alleges that the FTC’s administrative procedures and structure are unconstitutional, and seeks to enjoin the FTC from pursuing … Continue Reading

Adding Fuel to the Fire: Company’s Hidden Fees Sparks FTC Suit

On December 20, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued FleetCor Technologies, Inc., a fuel card marketer, and Ronald Clark, its CEO, in the Northern District of Georgia. The FTC lawsuit alleges that FleetCor charged customers hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden fees, making its promises about helping customers save on fuel costs false. … Continue Reading

Statutory Dreams or Equitable Nightmares: A Trifecta of Cases Before the Supreme Court Threaten the FTC’s Enforcement Authority

In recent days, the ghost of cases past returns to haunt the FTC’s ability to obtain equitable monetary relief under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. Three cases now pending Supreme Court review have the potential to significantly threaten the FTC’s enforcement authority: Liu v. SEC; FTC v. AMG Capital Management, LLC; and FTC v. … Continue Reading

Operation Full Disclosure, Continued: FTC Releases Disclosure Guides for Influencers

Influencers, if you ever wished you had a handy brochure on how to make proper disclosures in your sponsored posts, you are in luck. On Tuesday, the FTC issued a new guide titled “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers,” along with three videos, that lays out the agency’s guidelines for when and how influencers should … Continue Reading

Five “Lessons” for Lead Generation Advertisers

Law enforcement, workshops, and reports from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have yielded five “lessons” for lead generation advertisers, according to an article that was published last month in Law360 by Andrew Smith, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. In it, he suggests that companies that purchase lead generation advertising must manage lead generators responsibly, … Continue Reading

$40 Million Reasons to Have RCTs

On September 18, 2019, the FTC prevailed in its long-waged battle against Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. In a per curiam opinion, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding the defendants in contempt for violating the court’s prior order, which enjoined the defendants from making certain claims about health products without “competent and reliable scientific evidence.” … Continue Reading

The FTC’s Negative View of Negative Options – Are Expanded Regulations Coming?

The Federal Trade Commission’s “Negative Option Rule” is up for review, and the FTC is steering toward stricter regulations for automatic renewal plans and subscription programs. The FTC completed its last regulatory review of the Negative Option Rule in 2014 and decided then to retain the rule in its current form. But, will this time … Continue Reading

FTC’s COPPA Rule Workshop: A Summary of Priorities from Advocates and Industry, and the FTC’s Poker Face

The Federal Trade Commission held a workshop yesterday in Washington, D.C., to discuss possible updates to the COPPA Rule, which implements the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). COPPA was originally enacted in 1998 and regulates the way entities collect data and personal information online from children under the age of 13. The Rule hasn’t … Continue Reading

The FTC Gets Real About Fake “Organic” Claims

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $1.76 million settlement with Truly Organic, Inc. and its founder and CEO Maxx Harley Appelman regarding false “organic” claims. This is the first time the FTC has obtained monetary relief for deceptive “organic” claims, and the buzz around this settlement signals it may not be the … Continue Reading

Mr. Smith Goes to New York: Takeaways from the Keynote Address of the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the NAD Annual Conference

The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) held its Annual Conference in New York yesterday. Andrew Smith, the head of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the FTC, delivered the keynote address and provided attendees with an excellent overview of the past year’s landmark decisions in FTC jurisprudence. For those who frequent this blog, it comes as … Continue Reading

A Morning Cup of COPPA From the NAD Annual Conference

The National Advertising Division Annual Conference kicked off with Andrew Smith, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, as the keynote speaker. Near the close of his remarks, Director Smith announced that the FTC will hold a workshop on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). For a refresher, COPPA is designed to … Continue Reading

Alzheimer’s and Cancer? FTC Announcement Shows That FDA Is Not the Only Agency That Is “Serious”

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release announcing that it had issued warning letters to three unnamed sellers of cannabidiol (CBD) products who marketed everything from gummies to creams with bold claims that the products could treat a wide variety of the most serious diseases known to man. This follows an earlier … Continue Reading

Of Specificity and Shotgun Pleadings: Southern District of New York and Southern District of Florida Toss Claims Lacking Sufficient Specificity and Clarity

In two recent decisions, federal district courts have dismissed at least some of the claims brought by federal and state authorities, finding the complaints insufficiently specific in alleging that a defendant’s conduct met the relevant statutory requirements and/or insufficiently clear regarding their allegations as a whole. These rulings may provide a useful roadmap for future … Continue Reading

When Skiptracing + Autodialing = $267 Million

Last week, companies engaged in debt collection were not-so-gently reminded that making calls using an automated dialer to any number other than the one provided by the consumer is incredibly risky—and in Rash Curtis & Associates’ case, a $267 million risk. Calls made to phone numbers with the consumer’s prior express consent are not prohibited … Continue Reading

Things Are Buzzing in the Beehive State

Utah traditionally has been a hive of activity in the telemarketing and “how to make money” education verticals.  The Utah Consumer Protection Division (the “Division”) and the Division’s lawyers at the Office of the Attorney General appear to be trying to change that.  Industry participants have been watching closely a lawsuit filed by the attorney … Continue Reading

No Restitution for the Weary: Seventh Circuit Limits FTC’s Ability to Seek Restitution

The Seventh Circuit issued a decision this week that guts a key part of the FTC’s enforcement arsenal – the ability to obtain equitable monetary relief from defendants when the FTC challenges conduct in federal court under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. We’ve written previously—here, here, here, and here—regarding the limits courts have placed … Continue Reading

FTC Gathers Video Game Industry to Talk Loot Boxes

On August 7, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a workshop examining consumer protection issues related to “loot boxes” in video games in Washington, DC. Loot boxes are digital containers of virtual goods that a user can purchase in-game using real-world currency or earn based on meeting certain in-game milestones. A user does not … Continue Reading

Exactly How Long is the Long Arm of the Law? The FTC Seeks to Extend its Reach to Offshore Payment Processors

We frequently hear about the “long arm of the law,” but, in the case of the Federal Trade Commission, just how far does that arm actually reach? The FTC recently filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California adding SIA Transact Pro, a Latvian payment processor, and its … Continue Reading

Oh Won’t You Stay: The Exception to the Governmental Unit Exception to the Bankruptcy Code’s Automatic Stay

Clients sometimes ask whether filing bankruptcy can protect them from Federal Trade Commission scrutiny. The saga of Joseph Rensin and his company BlueHippo provides an opportunity to review the limited protection bankruptcy provides from the FTC. For more on the underlying case see our prior blog posts here and here. Rensin, the owner of BlueHippo, … Continue Reading
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