Category Archives: FTC

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This Argument Is No Longer in Service: Did FCC and FTC Drop the Issue of Reassigned Numbers as a Solution to Robocalls?

On March 23, 2018, the FCC and FTC hosted a joint forum to discuss the issue of robocalls. Consisting of three panels and remarks from key leadership of both agencies, the event marked a significant step in agency cooperation to mitigate consumer frustration from unwanted calls. The panels focused on three issues: (1) challenges facing … Continue Reading

It’s a Full Slate for the FTC

It appears increasingly likely that for probably the first time since the FTC was established, we will have five new Commissioners in the same calendar year. Just to quickly recap, the FTC has five seats, only two of which are currently filled. Commissioner McSweeny’s term has already expired, while Acting Chairman Ohlhausen has been nominated … Continue Reading

Is Past Prologue for FTC Jurisdiction?

A recent decision in an antitrust case brought by the FTC in the U.S. District Court for Delaware could significantly limit the FTC’s ability to bring consumer protection cases in federal court and return the FTC to an enforcement model that it largely abandoned in the early 1980’s. In that case, the court held that … Continue Reading

The FTC Formed a Blockchain Working Group (And Maybe That’s A Good Thing)

The FTC just announced that it, too, will join the federal government’s growing crypto/blockchain regulation club, right alongside the ranks of the SEC, CFTC, and Congress. Officially, this means the FTC has now created its own internal “Blockchain Working Group.” Though the FTC has been publishing information about cryptocurrencies since 2014 (see this hilariously-titled and … Continue Reading

FWIW: Millennials More Likely to Be Victims of Fraud

The FTC seeks to combat deceptive practices in the United States generally, but often it pays particularly close attention to the elderly, which it views as a vulnerable demographic. Last year for example, the FTC testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Aging that it’s taking action specifically against those fraudulent schemes that affect the … Continue Reading

FTC Obtains Injunction Halting Alleged Cryptocurrency Pyramid Scheme

It is perhaps not surprising that companies are already trying to make money (allegedly the unlawful way) from cryptocurrencies. Last week the FTC demonstrated that it can keep up with any marketplace trend when it succeeded in obtaining a federal court order to shut down a cryptocurrency-related pyramid scheme. This is the first action brought … Continue Reading

FTC Orders – Doesn’t Warn – Bollman Hat Company to Cease Deceptive “Made in USA” Claims, Licensing “American Made Matters” Seal to Others without Proper Vetting

As we reported a few months ago, the FTC has increased its enforcement of its “Made in USA” requirements – typically through warning letters rather than formal administrative or legal proceedings. This week’s proposed Consent Order against Bollman Hat Company and SaveAnAmericanJob, LLC demonstrates that if companies will not informally agree to corrective action to … Continue Reading

Telemarketing by Charity Fundraisers Remains an FTC Enforcement Priority

The FTC’s Northwest Regional Office has, for decades, led federal law enforcement efforts to investigate and shut down alleged fraud in the charity fundraising industry (state attorneys general are even more active in this space, as we’ve noted in previous writings). While the Northwest Region was somewhat active in the 1990s and early 2000s, its … Continue Reading

FCC Revives Its Own Native Advertising Rule: Sponsorship Identification

The FCC’s Sponsorship Identification Rule is a close, perhaps neglected cousin of the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements, i.e., its Native Advertising Guide. Nevertheless, the FCC’s latest enforcement action demonstrates how failure to follow the rule can result in penalties far larger than any imposed to date by the FTC. It also … Continue Reading

The Joint (And Several Liability) is Jumpin’

We wrote previously that for payment processors the death of Operation Choke Point was greatly exaggerated.  We also noted that a prior challenge to the FTC’s ability to impose joint and several liability on an executive for his former employer’s actions had failed. A recent appellate victory for the FTC reinforces both these points.  In … Continue Reading

The FTC Sees Red Over 1-800 Contacts’ Advertising Agreements with Competitors

Usually this blog focuses on the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection challenging unfair or deceptive advertising. Not so today. Instead, we write about the Bureau of Competition’s challenge to agreements 1-800 Contacts entered with its competitors concerning how they would advertise. The case provides useful insight into the nuts and bolts of Internet advertising as … Continue Reading

What’s the Federal Trade Commission Been Up to Recently?

A change in administration inevitably raises questions regarding the priorities and direction of federal agencies. To help set the record straight, Lesley Fair, a Senior Attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC or Commission), Bureau of Consumer Protection, reminded us during last week’s NAD Annual Conference that the FTC has kept quite busy over the last … Continue Reading

FTC “Telephonic Fireside Chat” with Chief Technologist Neil Chilson

Neil Chilson filled the position of FTC Chief Technologist in July, succeeding Lorrie Cranor. Mr. Chilson recently discussed the role of Chief Technologist with members of the ABA Antitrust Section Consumer Protection Committee in a “Telephonic Fireside Chat.” In describing his day-to-day, he broke down the role into a vertical dimension and a horizontal dimension. … Continue Reading

Mobile App Settles Charges with FTC that it Broke Pact with Consumers

Last week, in an ironic twist of fate, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged the operators of the Pact Mobile App, which paid consumers for keeping their fitness promises and charged consumers who missed their goals, for failing to honor its promises to consumers. According to the FTC’s complaint, when consumers signed up for the … Continue Reading

Don’t Hide the Ball from Consumers: FTC’s Lenovo Settlement Sheds Light on FTC’s Disagreement Over Its Deceptive Omission Authority

Savvy consumers are generally aware that new computers often include pre-installed software. However, most consumers do not realize that lurking behind their screens is software that computer manufacturers include to pad profit margins. And, because such pre-installed software is often harmless (if obnoxious), it is often called bundled software, bloatware or – the most vulgar … Continue Reading

The FTC’s Influence Reaches Influencers: FTC Settles First Ever Complaint Against Social Media Influencers

Big day at the FTC for influencer announcements! The FTC announced its first ever settlement with social media influencers. At the same time they followed up with a second round of warning letters to a large group of influencers. Finally the FTC updated its FAQs on endorsements with some guidance, including its current views about … Continue Reading

FTC Renews Focus on “Made in USA” Claims

By now, anyone who is even a casual reader of our blog should know about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Made in USA” requirements. As we have explained elsewhere, the FTC requires that a company’s products be “all or virtually all” manufactured in the United States (as well as “finally processed” domestically) for the company … Continue Reading

It’s a Small World After All

If you think the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the only regulator paying attention to online endorsements and reviews, guess again. According to a recent FTC press release, 10 of the 60 countries that participate in the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) have taken actions in the year since the Network released the … Continue Reading

Lather, Rinse, Repeat, FTC Continues To Pursue Entities Engaged in Credit Card Laundering

“Credit card laundering” or “factoring” refers to the practice of processing credit card transactions for one company through the merchant processing account of another company. In recent years, the FTC has sued several companies for engaging in this practice or assisting allegedly fraudulent merchants to launder card payments through multiple processing accounts. On July 28, … Continue Reading

Summer of Sequels: The FTC Joins the FCC in Releasing Consumer Complaints Regarding Purported Robocalls and Do Not Call Violations

Summer 2017 has seen and will see some well-publicized releases of sequels, remakes, and reboots: Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant; Johnny Depp back in his starring role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; Stephen King’s It; and the latest installments in The Mummy, Transformers, and Spider Man series, to name a … Continue Reading

Made in America Day/Week

The White House proclaimed July 17th as Made in America Day and last week as Made in America Week. As part of these events, the administration showcased “Made in America” products from each of the 50 states. For the complete list click here. Apparently the District of Columbia didn’t make the cut, which we’re a … Continue Reading
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