When the FTC amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule in 2003, it required telemarketers to transmit Caller ID information. That policy had three benefits. It promoted privacy by allowing people to screen out unwanted telemarketing calls. It increased industry accountability by making it harder for companies to remain anonymous. And it helped law enforcement by making it easier to identify fraudsters and companies who violated the Do Not Call Registry.
The hot present this holiday season is plastic: gift cards from popular online and brick-and-mortar retailers. But this year’s cards come wrapped in important new protections for people who buy and use them.
Parents are understandably concerned about keeping their kids safe online. That’s why many moms and dads paid $3.99 a month for Sentry Parental Controls, software sold by EchoMetrix, Inc. Once Sentry is installed on a computer, buyers can log into their online account to monitor activity on that computer, including web history, online chats, and password-protected IMs.
So far, so good. But that wasn’t the only product marketed by EchoMetrix.
The FTC staff released a report today that proposes a new framework for consumer privacy: Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Business and Policymakers.
These days more and more holiday shoppers will be decking the halls by ducking the malls. According to some reports, Cyber Monday has eclipsed Black Friday as the day when the going gets tough – and the tough go online shopping.
That’s great news for Internet retailers, but only if they’re up to speed on the FTC’s Mail Order Rule, which also applies to online sales. So now’s the time for businesses to make a list and check it twice to ensure Mail Order Rule compliance.
Today the FTC announced the new Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule, putting in place sweeping changes to protect homeowners from scams that have fallen on the heels of the mortgage crisis.
The FTC’s recent settlement with Allied Interstate, one of the nation’s largest debt collectors, sends a timely reminder to industry members to comply with the law – and an important message to consumers that the FTC has their back when it comes to companies that cross the line.
Does your business have a wireless network? Do you or your employees ever use wifi to catch up on work from home? Think about all the data that could be transmitted over your wireless network – credit card numbers, bank account information, business secrets. You probably don’t want to share that information with everyone who passes through your neighborhood. But that’s what you’re doing if you don’t use strong encryption and take other steps to secure your home network. Someone nearby could “piggyback” on your network, or even access the information on your computer.
Short-sighted thinking like that has landed a lot of businesses in hot water with law enforcers. They forget that the reach of federal and state consumer protection statutes can be expansive. Under appropriate circumstances, payment processors – as well businesses handling ad copy, telemarketing, fulfillment, and a host of other functions – may be liable for the role they play in another company’s deceptive or unfair practices.
The FTC's Biz Opp Cops have recommended that the Business Opportunity Rule be expanded to include work-at-home opportunities like envelope stuffing, medical billing, and product assembly, many of which have not been covered before. An FTC staff report outlines other suggested changes, including streamlining the disclosures required by the Rule so that people buying business opportunities get important info in a simple, easy-to-rea
Our mythic business executive is having a busy day. She’s got a breakfast meeting with Marketing to review an email promotion. Then it’s on to HR to talk about steps to keep personnel records secure. She’ll grab coffee with the Web Team to go over an online product launch and then rush to lunch with the local business club, where the topic is truth-in-advertising standards.
In my family, we're big fans of home delivery. Whether its dinner, clothes, books, or electronics, if it can be delivered to our door, we like it -- and I know we're not alone.
That's one reason I'm telling people about Penn Corner, the FTC's new monthly e-newsletter. It gets delivered to subscribers' inboxes each month. And unlike the jazzy new phone I just ordered, it's absolutely free.
For people with an ailment, Direct Marketing Concepts and ITV Direct had the answer: Coral Calcium or Supreme Greens. But according to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the companies, their corporate officers, and related entities lacked scientific proof for claims that their products could cure or prevent diseases like cancer, arthritis, lupus, Parkinson’s, and MS. The upshot?
The last thing people struggling to keep their heads above perilous financial waters need is an anchor weighing them down. That's why, as of today, businesses must comply with all provisions of new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule designed to curb deception in the sale of debt relief services.
Most importantly, companies that use outbound telemarketing -- or have customers call them in response to ads or other solicitations -- can’t collect fees from customers until:
• they successfully settle or change the terms of at least one of their debts;
This is National Chemistry Week. It’s also National School Bus Week. And be sure to wish members of Team Jacob a happy National Wolf Awareness Week. But for most business travelers, the annual observance that really hits home – or the road – is National Protect Your Identity Week, October 17th through 23rd.
Next Wednesday is a banner day for America’s consumers – and a critical deadline for companies in the debt relief services industry to conduct a head-to-toe compliance check-up on their operations. As of October 27th, businesses that call prospective customers to sell debt relief services – or have customers call them in response to ads or other solicitations – have to comply with new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that make it illegal to charge fees before settling or reducing a customer’s debts.
Maybe you work in the tech sector. Perhaps your firm has clients with a big internet presence. Or maybe you're responsible for paying attention to how your family uses the computer. That's why you'll want to know about the Net Cetera Community Outreach Toolkit, a free resource just released by OnGuardOnline.gov.
Owners of small businesses wrestling with tax obligations are sure to have seen the ads. American Tax Relief LLC promised to settle customers’ delinquent federal and state taxes for a fraction of what they owe, as well as put a stop to tax liens, bank levies, and property seizures. But according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the company charged up-front fees ranging from about $3,200 to $25,000 and offered little in return.
Today, the FTC is releasing proposed changes to its Green Guides. For years, the Green Guides have offered practical steps businesses can take to make sure that claims for a product’s environmental qualities aren’t misleading.
Our Green Guides have been under review for the last few years in an effort to make sure that they are appropriate for a changing marketplace. As part of the review process, the agency sought comments from the public, hosted public workshops, and conducted its own consumer perception study. The changes the Commission is proposing include guidance on: