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Ruling reminds marketers of the risks of discounting FTC legal tenets

The FTC’s lawsuit against Gary Kieper and Partners in Health Care Association (PIHC) alleged that the defendants deceptively peddled medical discount cards in the guise of health insurance. “Medical discount cards? Not my line,” you might say. But don’t discount the foundational legal principles articulated in the Court’s Order granting the FTC’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

It’s no longer business as usual at Herbalife: An inside look at the $200 million FTC settlement

Multi-level marketer Herbalife will pay $200 million back to people who were taken in by what the FTC alleges were misleading moneymaking claims. But when it comes to protecting consumers, that may not be the most important part of the just-announced settlement. What could matter more than $200 million? An order that requires Herbalife to restructure its business from top to bottom – and to start complying with the law.

FTC challenges influencer campaign for Warner Bros.’ Shadow of Mordor game

In the popular video game Shadow of Mordor, players don’t just randomly slash, hack, and pillage. They battle specific opponents through a feature known as the Nemesis System. In the FTC’s lawsuit against Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, truth in advertising had a nemesis: paid pitches for Shadow of Mordor that Warner Bros. deceptively claimed were independent reviews.

Sun sets on Sunrise Nutraceuticals’ unproven claims to beat opiate addiction

For people struggling with opiate addiction – and the family and friends who love them – the claim that Elimidrol would let them “permanently overcome withdrawal – the first time” sounded like the miracle they’d been hoping for. But according to a lawsuit filed by FTC, it was just another broken promise.

One truth to take from the Trudeau story

Recently, the FTC sent hundreds of thousands of refund checks to people who bought the book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About by pitchman Kevin Trudeau. Court decisions have established there wasn’t much truth in Mr. Trudeau’s advertising claims, but the story behind the law enforcement actions underscores one fundamental truth: the FTC’s commitment to effective order enforcement.

Crossing borders with online reviews and endorsements? There’s a roadmap for that!

Online reviews and endorsements can be key to consumers’ decision-making. In fact, surveys show that over 70% of American consumers turn to online sources before making a purchase. Advertisers already should know about FTC principles for making sure that online reviews and endorsements are honest and not misleading.

Civil penalties undergo inflation recalculation

If you’d like details about how the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act was amended to recalculate penalties using a formula based on the percentage by which the Department of Labor’s October 2015 Consumer Price Index exceeds the Index for October in the year in which the penalty was enacted or last adjusted by law, the FTC has issued a Federal Register Notice explaining it.

Billions back to consumers for VW’s false “clean diesel” claims

The FTC just announced a partial settlement with Volkswagen Group of America that will return as much as $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars. As the largest false advertising case in FTC history, it’s a record-breaking win for consumers – and it’s in keeping with the law-breaking nature of the deception the FTC alleged in its lawsuit against VW.

TSR Update: New Banned Payment Methods Now In Effect

The FTC told companies last fall about impending prohibitions under the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) on certain payment methods that legitimate telemarketing businesses don’t use, but con artists have been known to exploit: remotely-created checks, remotely-created payment orders, cash-to-cash transfers, and cash reload mechanisms.

Track or treat? InMobi’s location tracking ignored consumers’ privacy settings

It turns out the real estate people have been right all along. A settlement with InMobi, one of world’s largest mobile ad networks, suggests that for consumers, it really is about location, location, location – or at least honoring consumers’ location privacy preferences and not tracking them without permission. The case is the FTC’s first action against the operator of a mobile ad network.

Who’s calling? It’s not OSHA.

Spoiler alert: If the villains in a thriller appear to be vanquished with 20 minutes left in the movie, you can bet they’ll make a dramatic reappearance. A case filed by the FTC targets a B2B tactic that small businesses started seeing years ago, but – to quote Poltergeist II – “They’re ba-ack.” And the defendants in the sequel have added what the FTC says is a bogus imposter angle.

Doctor who?

Short of jumping into the Tardis to consult with intergalactic medical experts, how can consumers separate the hope from the hype when evaluating claims for health products? That’s where SmartClick Media’s “Doctor Trusted” website certification program claimed to help. But an FTC lawsuit alleges that the “Doctor Trusted” seal and the “Doctor Trusted.org Consumer Protection Certificate” weren’t to be trusted.

Un-suit-able?

For swimmers struggling to stay afloat, imagine this good news/bad news scenario. The good news: Someone throws a life preserver in your direction. The bad news: It’s made of concrete. According to an FTC lawsuit, that’s a rough analogy to the services that Damian Kutzner, Brookstone Law, Advantis Law, attorney Vito Torchia, Jr., and others offered to consumers caught in the undertow of foreclosure.

Are you following FinTech?

FinTech is the latest word in emerging financial technology and the FTC’s FinTech Forum will offer the latest word on the latest word. The topic for today’s half-day conference is marketplace lending – nonbank financial platforms that use technology to reach potential borrowers, evaluate creditworthiness, and facilitate loans. Can’t participate in person? Watch the webcast from the FinTech event page.

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