January 2018

The lesson of the MARS Rule: Not one penny up front

Like calling an NFL lineman “Tiny,” we appreciate an ironic name as much as the next person. But it’s different when a company calls itself – among other things – Consumer Defense, Preferred Law, and Modification Review Board and then makes allegedly deceptive claims regarding loan modification services to consumers struggling to hold onto their homes.

FTC, FDA warn sellers of questionable opioid treatment products

There’s one thing people struggling with opioid addiction need: the facts. And there’s something that can hinder their recovery and perhaps even lead to relapse: unproven treatments promoted with deceptive advertising claims. Partnering with federal health agencies, the FTC has announced efforts related to both issues – and there are steps your business can take to lend a hand.

So You Received a CID: FAQs for Small Businesses

So you’ve received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission related to a consumer protection matter. Now what? We appreciate that it can be daunting for any company – especially a small business – and we want to be as transparent as possible about the process.

Telemarketing Sales Rule requires clarity on charity

Some people say charity begins at home. But for telemarketers, truthful information about charity begins on the phone. That’s the message of an FTC settlement with InfoCision, an Ohio-based for-profit telemarketer that solicits contributions on behalf of well-known charities. If you represent professional charity fundraisers or have an affiliation with charitable organizations that ask for money by phone, it could be time for a Telemarketing Sales Rule review.

FTC challenges claims that products could treat side effects of cancer treatment

The FTC’s fight against the deceptive marketing of unproven cancer treatments goes back to the early days of the agency, and it’s disappointing that we still need to bring cases of that nature. But you can add the FTC’s settlement with Florida-based CellMark Biopharma and CEO Derek Vest to that list – and the deceptive claims they pitched to people battling cancer are particularly disconcerting.

FTC staff offers perspectives on connected car workshop

Car ads used to include shorthand like 2D, AWD, and AC. Today’s car buyer is just as likely to ask about USB, GPS, and wifi. Last June, the FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a workshop in Washington to discuss the types of information that connected and autonomous cars collect and the ways the data can be used.

VTech settlement cautions companies to keep COPPA-covered data secure

We can’t guarantee its effectiveness in getting kids to eat their vegetables or finish their homework. But there’s one circumstance in which a Mom or Dad’s “Because I said so . . . .” is the law of the land. When it comes to the online collection of personal information from kids under 13, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) puts parents in charge.

FTC staff answers questions about MLMs

Multi-level marketers sell a wide variety of products and services and they structure their companies in different ways. But there’s a lodestar that all industry members can use to navigate through issues that may arise – and here it is:  Core consumer protection principles apply to all MLMs. FTC staff has just released business guidance to help MLMs apply those core principles to their business practices.