Category Archives: FTC

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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

Change Starts Within: FTC Process Reforms Address CID Practices

Back in February we blogged about Acting Chair Ohlhausen’s first keynote address in which she outlined her three consumer protection priorities. Consistent with those priorities, in April, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its agenda to eliminate wasteful, unnecessary regulations and processes. Within the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the FTC’s goals included an effort … Continue Reading

FTC’s Warning on Green Paint Claims Required a Second Coat

As we previously blogged, the FTC went after several paint companies (Benjamin Moore, ICP, YOLO and Imperial Paints) for advertising that their paints were VOC-free when that claim was true only before colors were added to the paint. Time and technology march on, and several manufacturers thought they had solved this problem, proclaiming boldly that … Continue Reading

FTC Updates COPPA Guidance for IoT and New Consent Options

On June 21, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated one of its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance guides for businesses. Known as the “Six-Step Compliance Plan,” this document provides a step-by-step road map for determining if a company is covered by COPPA and what to do to comply. COPPA applies to operators … Continue Reading

Student Loan Market in FTC’s Cross Hairs

Lots of folks were wondering whether at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) it was “School’s Out” with a shortage of Commissioners and a new administration in the White House. A recent case involving the telemarketing of student loan debt relief services makes clear that, at least in certain areas, school is still in session. The … Continue Reading

Spinning Gold Into Straw: FTC Obtains a Court Order Requiring the Sale of Defendant’s Home

Some marketers move to Florida believing that the state’s constitutional Homestead Act protects their house from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) grasp. A recent case shows that the FTC may not share that belief, and a federal judge recently agreed with the FTC. Sam J. Goldman tried looking for gold, but it didn’t pan out. … Continue Reading

NY AG Doesn’t Miss a Beat, Settles Three Cases with Mobile Health App Developers

As we have written before, mobile apps geared toward health and fitness have become increasingly popular—and an increasingly popular target for regulators. This makes sense. Health and fitness apps can pose a serious risk if consumers rely on them for personal health information that turns out to be inaccurate or misleading. And the risk goes … Continue Reading

The “More Muscular” Buy American Policy Involves a Waiting Period

Earlier this month, Venable reported on the Trump administration’s intent to make the federal government’s procurement preference for domestic products (i.e., the body of “Buy American” laws that have been around in some form or another since 1933) even “more muscular” by moving forward with a “new policy” that is “based on the twin pillars of maximizing Made in … Continue Reading
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