Rules and Guides

900-Number Rule

16 CFR 308

The 900-Number Rule requires disclosures about the cost of telephone-based entertainment or information services -- known as "audiotext" services -- that consumers access by dialing a 900 number. These disclosures must be made in the advertising of any 900-number audiotext service, and also in a free "preamble" message included at the beginning of any audiotext program.

Amplifier Rule

16 CFR Part 432

Rule Summary: The Amplifier Rule  establishes uniform test standards and disclosures so that consumers can make more meaningful comparisons of amplifier equipment performance attributes.

CAN-SPAM Rule

16 CFR Part 316

The CAN-SPAM Act requires the Commission to issue regulations “defining the relevant criteria to facilitate the determination of the primary purpose of an electronic mail message.” The CAN-SPAM Act applies almost exclusively to “commercial electronic mail messages”.

Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel & Certain Piece Goods

16 CFR 423

The Care Labeling Rule, which requires manufacturers and importers of textile wearing apparel and goods; provides regular instructions to purchasers through care labels or other methods; prohibits deceptive acts or practices that fail to disclose instructions to regular care; requires appropriate terminology and symbols that accurately describe care procedures.

Contact Lens Rule

16 CFR Part 315

The Contact Lens Rule contains two key requirements. The first requirement is that contact lens prescribers (i.e., optometrists and ophthalmologists) must provide patients with a copy of their contact lens prescriptions at the completion of a contact lens fitting. The second requirement is that a contact lens seller cannot provide contact lenses to its customer unless the seller either obtains a copy of the prescription or verifies the prescription information with the prescriber through procedures set forth in the Rule.

Cooling-off Period for Sales Made at Home or Other Locations

16 CFR Part 429

The Cooling Off Rule provides that it is unfair and deceptive for sellers engaged in “door-to-door” sales valued at more than $25 to fail to provide consumers with disclosures regarding their right to cancel the sales contract within three business days of the transaction.

Disposal of Consumer Report Information and Records

16 CFR Part 682

This Rule requires businesses and individuals that maintain or otherwise possess consumer reports and records for a business purpose to take appropriate measures to dispose of sensitive information derived from such consumer reports and records.

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act

16 C.F.R. Parts 500, 501, 502, 503

The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA or Act), enacted in 1967, directs the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations requiring that all "consumer commodities" be labeled to disclose net contents, identity of commodity, and name and place of business of the product's manufacturer, packer, or distributor.

Financial Privacy Rule

16 CFR Part 313

The regulations require financial institutions to provide particular notices and to comply with certain limitations on disclosure of nonpublic personal information. A financial institution must provide a notice of its privacy policies and practices with respect to both affiliated and nonaffiliated third parties, and allow the consumer to opt out of the disclosure of the consumer’s nonpublic personal information to a nonaffiliated third party if the disclosure is outside of the exceptions.

Franchise Rule

16 CFR Parts 436 and 437

The Franchise Rule gives prospective purchasers of franchises the material information they need in order to weigh the risks and benefits of such an investment. The Rule requires franchisors to provide all potential franchisees with a disclosure document containing 23 specific items of information about the offered franchise, its officers, and other franchisees.

Additional Information

Franchise Rule Compliance Guide

Fuel Economy Advertising for New Automobiles

16 CFR Part 259

The Guide Concerning Fuel Economy Advertising for New Automobiles assist automobile manufacturers and dealers in avoiding deceptive fuel economy claims and using fuel economy information truthfully in advertising.

Funeral Industry Practices Rule

16 CFR 453

The Funeral Rule requires providers of funeral goods and services to give consumers itemized lists of funeral goods and services that not only state price and descriptions, but also contain specific disclosures. The "General Price List" (GPL) must list all prices for funeral goods and services offered by the funeral provider, although separate price lists may be developed for caskets and outer burial containers. The GPL must contain four disclosures:

Green Guides

16 CFR Part 260

The Green Guides were issued to help marketers ensure that the claims they are making are true and substantiated. The guidance they provide includes:

Guide Concerning Use of the Word “Free” and Similar Representations

16 CFR Part 251

The offer of "Free" merchandise or service is a promotional device frequently used to attract customers. When making "Free" or similar offers all of the terms and conditions upon which one can receive and retain the “Free” item should be set forth clearly and conspicuously at the outset of the offer so as to leave no reasonable probability that the terms of the offer might be misunderstood.

Health Breach Notification Rule

16 CFR Part 318

The Rule requires vendors of personal health records and related entities to notify consumers following a breach involving unsecured information. In addition, if a service provider to one of these entities has a breach, it must notify the entity, which in turn must notify consumers. The Final Rule also specifies the timing, method, and content of notification, and in the case of certain breaches involving 500 or more people, requires notice to the media.

Hobby Protection Act

16 CFR Part 304

The Hobby Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1973, covers imitation political items (e.g., buttons, posters, stickers, etc.), as well as imitation numismatic items (e.g., various coins, tokens, paper money, commemorative medals) that are required to be marked with certain identifying information in an effort to flag them as imitations. The FTC’s Rule establishes the size of the required disclosures, their location, and the manner in which items may be marked.

Holder in Due Course Rule

16 CFR Part 433

The Preservation of Consumers’ Claims and Defenses [Holder in Due Course Rule], formally known as the "Trade Regulation Rule Concerning Preservation of Consumers' Claims and Defenses," protects consumers when merchants sell a consumer's credit contracts to other lenders. Specifically, it preserves consumers' right to assert the same legal claims and defenses against anyone who purchases the credit contract, as they would have against the seller who originally provided the credit.

Leather Guides

16 CFR Part 24

The Leather Guides address misrepresentations about the composition and characteristics of certain leather and imitation leather products, and state that disclosure of non-leather content should be made for material that appears to be, but is not, leather.

Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule

16 CFR Part 435

The Rule, issued in 1975, requires sellers who solicit buyers to order merchandise through the mail, via the Internet, or by phone to have a reasonable basis to expect that the sellers can ship within the advertised time frame, or, if no time frame is specified, within 30 days. The Rule also requires that, when a seller cannot ship within the promised time, the seller must obtain the buyer’s consent to a delay in shipping or refund payment for the unshipped merchandise.

Nursery Guides

16 CFR Part 18

The Nursery Guides address numerous sales practices for outdoor plants, including deceptive claims as to quantity, size, grade, kind, species, age, maturity, condition, vigor, hardiness, growth ability, price, and origin or place where grown.

Picture Tube Rule

16 CFR Part 410

The Rule requires advertisers to base any representation of the screen size on the horizontal dimension of the actual, viewable area, unless they disclose the alternative method of measurement clearly and conspicuously in close proximity to the size designation.

R-Value Rule

16 CFR 460

The R-value Rule (formally, the “Trade Regulation Rule Concerning the Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation”) requires home insulation manufacturers, professional installers, new home sellers, and retailers to provide R-value information, based on the results of standard tests, to help inform consumers. The R-value rates a product’s ability to restrict heat flow and thus reduce energy costs. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.

Rebuilt, Reconditioned and Other Used Automobile Parts

16 CFR Part 20

The Guides prohibit misrepresentations that a part is new or about the condition, extent of previous use, reconstruction, or repair of a part. Previously used parts must be clearly and conspicuously identified as such in advertising and packaging, and, if the part appears new, on the part itself.

Retail Food Store Advertising and Marketing Practices (Unavailability Rule)

16 CFR Part 424

The Unavailability Rule prohibits food retailers from advertising products at a stated price unless the products are in stock and available during the effective period of the advertisement, or the ad discloses that supplies are limited or available only at some outlets. It is not a violation if the retailer meets other conditions, such as offering a “raincheck” for the advertised products, or a comparable product at the advertised price.

Safeguards Rule

16 CFR Part 314

The Safeguards Rule requires financial institutions under FTC jurisdiction to have measures in place to keep customer information secure. In addition to developing their own safeguards, companies covered by the Rule are responsible for taking steps to ensure that their affiliates and service providers safeguard customer information in their care.

Telemarketing Sales Rule

16 CFR 310

The Telemarketing Sales Rule, which requires telemarketers to make specific disclosures of material information; prohibits misrepresentations; sets limits on the times telemarketers may call consumers; prohibits calls to a consumer who has asked not to be called again; and sets payment restrictions for the sale of certain goods and services.

Textile Fiber Rule

16 CFR Part 303

The Textile Fiber Rule requires that certain textiles sold in the United States carry labels disclosing the generic names and percentages by weight of the constituent fibers in the product, the manufacturer or marketer name, and the country where the product was processed or manufactured.

Trade Regulation Rule Pursuant to the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992

16 CFR Part 308

The Trade Regulation Rule Pursuant to the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992 (the “900-Number Rule,” or the “Pay-Per Call Rule”) was adopted by the Commission pursuant to the requirements of the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992.  The Pay-Per-Call Rule, which became effective on November 1, 1993, covers the advertising and operation of pay-per-call services, as well as billing and collection procedures for those services.

Use of Prenotification Negative Option Plans

16 CFR Part 425

Under these plans, sellers ship merchandise such as books, compact discs or tapes automatically to their subscribers, and bill them for the merchandise, if they do not expressly reject the merchandise within a prescribed time.

Used Car Rule

16 CFR Part 455

The Used Car Rule, formally known as the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule, has been in effect since 1985. It requires car dealers to display a window sticker, known as a Buyers Guide, on the used cars they offer for sale. The Buyers Guide discloses whether the dealer offers a warranty and, if so, its terms and conditions, including the duration of the coverage, the percentage of total repair costs the dealer will pay, and which vehicle systems the warranty covers.

Wool Products Labeling Rules

16 CFR Part 300

The Wool Products Labeling Rules require labels on wool products disclosing the manufacturer's or marketer's name, the country where the product was processed or manufactured, and information about the fiber content.