November 2010

Shopping in a Winter Wonderland

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.

Second Largest Debt Collection Civil Penalty in FTC History – and New Compliance Resource for Business

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.

Tales From the Unencrypted

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.

"Liability? Shmiability. We're just processing payments."

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.

FTC Staff Recommends Changes to Business Opportunity Rule

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

The Business of Doing Business

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.

Free Delivery, No Purchase Required

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.

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds $48 Million Judgment

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?