Gary Numan sang, “Here in my car, I can only receive.” Well, those days are in the past. More and more vehicles are outfitted with the latest communications technologies like Bluetooth, GPS navigation, roadside assistance, streaming music, and web browsing. With mobile technologies in rental cars, consumers’ personal information can stay with the car long after the consumer has returned it. If you’re a car rental company, it’s important to think about protecting consumer privacy in connected rental cars.
Well, that didn’t take long.
The details of the historic $10 billion Volkswagen “clean diesel” settlement are still being finalized – and as we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re already hearing reports of dealers targeting VW owners and lessees with promotions that include half-truths, misinformation, and downright deception.
If a disclosure is intended to inform consumers – and isn’t that pretty much the job description of a disclosure? – it should accomplish that task effectively. A “disclosure” that fails that fundamental test is no disclosure at all. That’s FTC 101. So what can be done to improve the testing and evaluation of disclosures? Leading academics and testing professionals will gather at the FTC on September 15, 2016, to explore that topic.
According to the Sinatra standard, "Love is lovelier the second time around.” But the same can’t be said when a car dealership that has already settled an FTC law enforcement action for deceptively advertising financing and leasing terms engages in further misrepresentations.
We’re not being overdramatic when we describe it as a business executive’s nightmare: a shadowy contact from a hacker who has infiltrated a company’s network, encrypted the data, and now demands ransom for a key to access the files.
“It says it’s organic, but just what does that mean?” That’s a question a lot of consumers ask themselves when shopping for non-agricultural items like personal care products – and it will be the topic of discussion at an October 20, 2016, roundtable in Washington, DC.
The FTC’s recent action against Volkswagen focused on the company’s “clean diesel” claims, which were rendered false by VW’s installation of a defeat device that cheated on emissions tests. The history-making $10 billion settlement will offer eligible car owners choices to compensate them for the deception.
Mosquitoes aren’t just another picnic pest. They can carry serious diseases running the gamut from A to Zika virus. And just as illness can follow when mosquitoes infest, consumer injury can follow when ads are deceptive. The FTC staff just sent 10 warning letters about anti-Zika claims for wristbands, patches, stickers, and the like, reminding recipients that representations must be backed by proper proof.
“It’s a dog’s life,” they say – and according to Mars Petcare, its Eukanuba brand of dog food could extend dogs’ lives by 30%. But the FTC alleges that Mars made misleading representations about the products’ life-extending benefits and falsely claimed that scientific tests supported what the company said.
Innovative financial technology is changing the way consumers borrow, share, and spend money, offering the promise of increased convenience and access to financial services. The FTC is hosting a series of FinTech events to broadly explore the implications of this financial technology for consumers, building on the agency’s longstanding focus on technological innovation and extensive enforcement experience in the area of non-bank financial practices.
The FTC’s lawsuit against Gary Kieper and Partners in Health Care Association (PIHC) alleged that the defendants deceptively peddled medical discount cards in the guise of health insurance. “Medical discount cards? Not my line,” you might say. But don’t discount the foundational legal principles articulated in the Court’s Order granting the FTC’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
A certain famous chef is known for exclaiming “BAM!” when he wants to extract the most flavor from a recipe. The FTC’s case against an unrelated California company called BAM Financial alleges a far less savory form of extraction.
Multi-level marketer Herbalife will pay $200 million back to people who were taken in by what the FTC alleges were misleading moneymaking claims. But when it comes to protecting consumers, that may not be the most important part of the just-announced settlement. What could matter more than $200 million? An order that requires Herbalife to restructure its business from top to bottom – and to start complying with the law.
The Internet of Things refers to consumer products that connect to the Internet to send and receive data – everything from fitness devices, wearables, and smart cars to connected smoke detectors, light bulbs, and refrigerators.
In the popular video game Shadow of Mordor, players don’t just randomly slash, hack, and pillage. They battle specific opponents through a feature known as the Nemesis System. In the FTC’s lawsuit against Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, truth in advertising had a nemesis: paid pitches for Shadow of Mordor that Warner Bros. deceptively claimed were independent reviews.
Chances are, one of your customers, employees, or friends will soon be buying a car. You can do them a good turn without going near a wheel.
For people struggling with opiate addiction – and the family and friends who love them – the claim that Elimidrol would let them “permanently overcome withdrawal – the first time” sounded like the miracle they’d been hoping for. But according to a lawsuit filed by FTC, it was just another broken promise.
Recently, the FTC sent hundreds of thousands of refund checks to people who bought the book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About by pitchman Kevin Trudeau. Court decisions have established there wasn’t much truth in Mr. Trudeau’s advertising claims, but the story behind the law enforcement actions underscores one fundamental truth: the FTC’s commitment to effective order enforcement.
Online reviews and endorsements can be key to consumers’ decision-making. In fact, surveys show that over 70% of American consumers turn to online sources before making a purchase. Advertisers already should know about FTC principles for making sure that online reviews and endorsements are honest and not misleading.
If you’d like details about how the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act was amended to recalculate penalties using a formula based on the percentage by which the Department of Labor’s October 2015 Consumer Price Index exceeds the Index for October in the year in which the penalty was enacted or last adjusted by law, the FTC has issued a Federal Register Notice explaining it.