December 2012

Cooling-Off heats up

Say “Cooling-Off Rule” and most people (OK, most people over a certain age) think of the classic door-to-door salesman — although the scope of the Rule is broader than that.  After listening to comments about the future of the Cooling-Off Rule, the FTC has decided to keep it in place, but is asking for your feedback about one important proposed change.

FTC's revised COPPA Rule: Five need-to-know changes for your business

It’s not often we describe something as a drop-what-you’re-doing development.  But if you’ve been following proposed changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, this may qualify.  After national workshops, Federal Register Notices, and hundreds of comments from the public, the FTC just issued final changes to the COPPA Rule.

Going for broke(r)

Until recently, most consumers — and a whole lot of businesses — were unfamiliar with the operations of the data broker industry.  Data brokers collect personal information from a variety of public and non-public sources and resell it to other companies.  No doubt, there are economic benefits to the flow of certain kinds of information.  But legislators, law enforcers, and others have raised concerns about the privacy implications of what goes on behind the scenes.

Masquer-aid?

Usually we lay out the facts of a case and then summarize what we see as the take-away tips for business.  But this time we’re switching things up.  Here are the two bottom-line messages from the FTC’s ongoing action against The Cuban Exchange:  It’s a Bad Idea to use robocalls to impersonate familiar groups in an effort to trick people into turning over their bank account info and other sensitive data.  And it’s a Really Bad Idea when the group you impersonate is the Federal Trade Commission.

New URL in town

Business.ftc.gov is happy to welcome a sibling:  consumer.ftc.gov — the new URL for consumer resources from the FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency.

Why should the FTC’s consumer site matter to your business?  It’s become a catchphrase, but it’s true: An educated consumer really is your best customer.  When prospective buyers are empowered with information, satisfaction soars.  And there’s another reason:  You put in a long day on the job, but in your down time, you’re a consumer, too.

Survey says: What FTC follow-up report on kids' apps means for your business

Next time you’re in a long line at the grocery store, watch how parents distract a kid who's feeling cranky.  They used to jangle keys or offer a favorite toy.  But now a lot of Moms and Dads hand them a smartphone with an app designed for children.  As the kids' app market continues to grow, FTC staff issued a report detailing survey results showing that neither app stores nor app developers were giving parents the information they need to figure out what data is being collected from their kids, how it’s shared, and who has access to it.  The report recommended that members of the app indu

Proposed changes to the Used Car Rule: What you auto know

The wheels are turning on proposed updates to the FTC’s Used Car Rule.  Formally known as the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule (although only its Mother calls it that), the Rule has been in effect since 1985.  It requires car dealers to display a window sticker, called a Buyers Guide, on used cars they offer for sale.  The Buyers Guide gives people information about the car — for example, whether it’s being sold “as is” or with a warranty, what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty, and the syste