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February 2011

Feb 18, 2011

How do leaders in advertising, marketing, and law stay current on FTC developments that affect consumers?  They read Penn Corner, the agency's monthly digest of notable updates.  The February...

Feb 16, 2011

Of course, no legitimate business would put out a welcome mat for crooks.  But as the FTC’s data security cases make clear, that’s the effect when companies fail to take reasonable steps to secure sensitive information in their possession — or data they allow others to access. ...

Feb 14, 2011

Whether you’re waiting to board an airplane or grabbing a quick cuppa at a neighborhood café, public wireless networks are a great way for busy professionals to keep connected.

Convenient?  Yes.  Secure?  Mmm, not so much.

Unfortunately, most hotspots don’t encrypt what goes over the...

Feb 11, 2011

Paying millions in refunds.
Doing business under stringent injunctive provisions.
Posting hefty bonds before selling certain products.

For most people, the potential consequences of an FTC enforcement action are enough deterrent to stay within the bounds of the law.  But...

Feb 10, 2011

America’s homeowners just gained new protections.  While parts of the Mortgage Assistance Relief Service (MARS) Rule requiring disclosures in advertising and other communications went into effect on December 29, 2010, the ban...

Feb 8, 2011

If you work in the health care or HR field or have clients who do, you’ve probably run across it. A patient complains about a bill for medical services they didn’t receive. An employee who rarely goes to the doctor gets told they’ve reached the limit on their health benefits. Someone gets denied...

Feb 2, 2011

As a recent FTC action against three companies and their owner proves, ads promising quick and easy relief from credit card debt are likely to attract law enforcement attention. But this case featured an interesting twist...

Feb 1, 2011

Chances are a person you know — an employee, someone who works in your building, a neighbor perhaps — is navigating the process of getting a green card or work visa. Do them a favor and warn them about outfits that falsely claim an affiliation with the United States Citizenship and Immigration...

January 2011

Jan 31, 2011

It may have happened to you.  You open the monthly phone bill at your business or at home and find charges for goods or services you never ordered.  It’s called cramming — and it’s illegal.

The FTC has brought numerous law enforcement actions against companies who “cram” unauthorized...

Jan 26, 2011

To most people, Plano is a pleasant city north of Dallas.  But if you have clients in the optical industry — or hang out in goth circles on the weekend — "plano" refers to a contact lens worn for cosmetic effect, not vision correction.  Even if you just wear contacts yourself, you should know...

Jan 21, 2011

Just finishing your review of the preliminary FTC staff report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Business and Policymakers? There’s good news. The FTC has...

Jan 20, 2011

Humorist Harold Coffin is credited with saying that "A consumer is a shopper who is sore about something." Whether or not that’s true, savvy marketers appreciate the value of keeping their finger on the pulse of consumer protection. What questionable practices have attracted law enforcement...

Jan 12, 2011

For many people, environmental considerations play an important role in what they put in their shopping carts.  But it's tough to know when green claims are credible.  Seals and certifications can be a useful tool to help shoppers decide where to place their trust and how to spend their money —...

Jan 6, 2011

The packages have been opened and the ribbons have been collected by that one relative who claims to recycle them. The good news is that early reports suggest that 2010 was a robust holiday shopping season. But now retailers are starting to hear that the sweater didn’t fit, the electronic gadget...

Jan 3, 2011

If you advertise or sell platinum jewelry, you’ll want to stay “in the loupe” and read recent revisions to the FTC’s Jewelry Guides that address the marking — and...

December 2010

Dec 30, 2010

When visiting an unfamiliar city, it helps to have a tour guide – a knowledgeable local to walk alongside you to point out the notable sights.

When your destination is a proposed FTC order, that guide is the Analysis to Aid Public Comment, a summary of key provisions the Commission issues...

Dec 27, 2010

Should manufacturers have more time to incorporate new light bulb labeling on their packaging? And should the new light bulb rule exempt certain bulbs that soon will be obsolete? The FTC is asking for public comment on those two questions...

Dec 23, 2010

You've just opened an invoice for office supplies you didn't order or for a listing in a business directory. It’s the same invoice you got last week – but this one is stamped "Past Due." Perhaps one of your colleagues says there's someone hounding her on the phone, demanding payment for Internet...

Dec 20, 2010

In addition to allegations about Activia Yogurt, the FTC’s recent settlement with Dannon Corporation challenged health claims...

Dec 16, 2010

If you or your clients make health claims in advertising, the FTC’s settlement with Dannon Corporation for allegedly false and deceptive representations about Activia Yogurt and DanActive is a must-read.  The FTC worked closely with 39 state...

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