November 2015

Changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule: What your business needs to know

Law enforcement, education, technology, crowd-sourcing. The FTC fights the battle against illegal telemarketing on every possible front – and here’s the latest development. After considering public comments, the FTC just amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to protect consumers by prying four tools out of the hands of fraudsters.

Law enforcement sweep challenges dietary supplement claims

Opiate addiction is a national epidemic, but the public health crisis is only half the story. It also exacts a devastating toll on opiate-dependent individuals and their families. The FTC just filed a lawsuit against a company that claims its “opiate withdrawal supplement” provides “powerful relief” for people withdrawing from prescription medication and even heroin.

Making tracks

Interested business people are making tracks to the FTC’s workshop today on cross-device tracking. Can’t make it to Washington? Then watch the webcast.

Not yours – truly

Whether it was turn-of-the-century conman George C. Parker or Peaches O’Day, Mae West’s character in the movie “Every Day’s a Holiday,” the annals of consumer protection are filled with stories of people attempting to sell the Brooklyn Bridge or other things they don’t own. Announced as part of Operation Collection Protection, a lawsuit filed by the FTC and the New York Attorney General alleges a variation on that theme.

Defending our defenders

One way America offers a well-deserved thanks to veterans is through educational benefits. The FTC, the Department of Veterans Affairs – and taxpayers, of course – share an interest in ensuring that the people who protect us are protected from misleading practices in the marketing of educational services. But what happens when “Support Our Troops” turns into "Thwart Our Troops" in their effort to get accurate information about educational opportunities?

FTC Debt Collection Dialogue takes the midnight train to – well, you know where

Georgia’s on our mind – and if you have clients in the debt collection industry, it should be on yours, too. That’s because the FTC’s third Debt Collection Dialogue is set for Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in Atlanta. The FTC is hosting the event with the Office of the Georgia AG and Attorney General Sam Olens will set the stage with opening remarks at 1:00 PM.

The Role of the Bureau of Economics in Consumer Protection: A Conversation with Bureau Directors

Most practitioners are familiar with the work of the FTC’s two primary law enforcement bureaus. The role of the third bureau – the Bureau of Economics – may be less familiar to readers of this blog, but it’s just as essential to the agency’s mission. How do the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Bureau of Economics work together? We posed that question to BE Director Francine Lafontaine and BCP Director Jessica Rich.

Debt-cathlon

If there were a Debt Collection Decathlon – and we’re glad there isn’t – National Check Registry would have been a contender. According to the FTC and New York AG, the Buffalo-based debt collector “excelled” in a number of events: the Bogus Lawsuit Vault, the Disclosure of Debt Dash, and the Unauthorized Fee High Jump, to name just a few.

Operation Collection Protection puts the heat on illegal debt collection tactics

For debt collectors who resort to illegal tactics, it must feel like 110 in the shade because 115 law enforcement actions announced this year by the FTC and local, state, federal, and international partners – including 30 just-filed cases – have turned up the heat on law violators. From Buffalo to San Diego and dozens of jurisdictions in between, companies that flout debt collection standards are feeling the burn.

Across the tracks? FTC explores cross-device tracking

Quick:  How many connected devices do your customers have within arm’s reach right now? For a lot of them, the answer is (at minimum) a desktop computer, a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, a connected TV, and a wearable gadget. What are the consumer protection implications when companies collect data through – and across – those devices for the purpose of advertising and marketing?

Made in USA claims: Three cheers for the said right and true

Two products sit side by side on the store shelf, but only one says “Made in USA.” For many consumers, that’s an important consideration in deciding what to buy. That’s why the FTC wants to make sure companies’ Made in USA claims – like all objective product representations – are true and backed by appropriate evidence. We asked FTC attorney Julia Ensor some of the questions we’ve heard from businesses about Made in USA claims.

Does my company have to disclose U.S. content on products we sell in the United States?