Business Blog

When BOGO is a no-go

If you watch as much TV as we do, you may have been tempted to reach for the phone to order the Snuggie, that blanket with sleeves for couch potatoes; Forever Comfy, the answer to rump-sprung chairs; or a host of other items sold by New York-based Allstar Marketing Group. And if one Magic Mesh, Cat's Meow, Roto Punch, or Perfect Tortilla wasn’t enough, the ads reeled buyers in with a “double the offer” buy-one-get-one-free promotion the FTC and New York Attorney General said was misleading.

Cruisin’ for a TSR violation

Before your business cruises its way to violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), you’ll want to pay attention to the FTC’s latest case against telemarketers. The lesson: if the call includes a sales pitch, the TSR applies – no matter what other purpose the call may have.   

The Shipping News and Reviews

Consumers often first go to online review sites when they are thinking about buying a product or hiring a service provider. As a result, most businesses are concerned about managing their online reputation. But a recent FTC proposed settlement offers some lessons for businesses that seek to solicit online reviews with cash or other incentives.

Scientific substantiation: Take the right “app”roach

According to the National Cancer Institute, melanoma of the skin is the most deadly form of skin cancer. Many people want to keep an eye out for possible symptoms and take action fast, if necessary. So, could you make an app for that? Hmm, as “app”ealing as it sounds, hold the phone.

Law and Orders

Once you’re subject to an FTC order, if you do not comply with its provisions, there are consequences in addition to any you face for deceptive or misleading practices.  Violation of an order can pave the way for civil penalties.

On our list: Updating fair packaging and labeling rules

It was a new era for shoppers in the 1960s. Suburbs, malls and grocery stores boomed. Esso “put a tiger in your tank.” And unscrupulous marketers came up with some new tricks. It turns out that a “jumbo pound” weighed, you guessed it – one pound. Into the fray entered the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), signed into law in 1966. 

Location, location, location

Does your app collect users’ locations? Is that happening even when they’re not using the app?  Savvy developers understand the importance of giving consumers a clear picture of what’s going on. The FTC has advice on making your practices more transparent.

Debt collection recollection

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. That’s so true when it comes to the thorny issues surrounding debt collection practices. Unlawful debt collection practices are a long-standing source of consumer complaints.  So, it only makes sense to have two cops on the beat; the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau work together to enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and keep debt collection practices lawful.

POM v. FTC: A dozen quotable quotes from the D.C. Circuit opinion

POM Wonderful’s advertising claims were false and deceptive. That’s the conclusion of the United States Court of Appeals in upholding the FTC’s ruling. We think it’s a momentous victory for our two clients: American consumers and the cause of truth in the marketplace. You’ll want to read the entire opinion, of course, but here are twelve quotes from the D.C.

Mess ipsa loquitor? Letting the facts speak for themselves

This post about the FTC’s law enforcement action against Craig Brittain will be a little different. No bullet points parsing the nuances of complaint allegations. No tips and takeaways for savvy marketers. No admonitions about industry best practices. Given that the “industry” in question is revenge porn, the facts pretty much speak for themselves.

TracFone’s limits on “unlimited” data lead to $40 million in consumer refunds

Certain advertising terms are bound to attract consumer attention: “free,” “no diet or exercise required” – and for people in the market for mobile data plans, “unlimited.” The FTC’s settlement with TracFone Wireless will return $40 million to consumers whose unlimited service was throttled or cut off. What can your company take from the case?

Spilling the beans: The anatomy of a diet craze

Some people call it the “Oz Effect” – the bump in consumer demand after a product or ingredient is featured on the The Dr. Oz Show. In a just-announced settlement, the FTC says defendants Lindsey Duncan, Pure Health LLC, and Genesis Today, Inc., took advantage of that phenomenon by deceptively touting the purported weight loss benefits of green coffee bean extract.

Testing, testing: A review session on COPPA and schools

We often get questions about how the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act applies in the school setting. The COPPA Rule gives parents control over what information “an operator of a Web site or online service” – yes, that includes apps – can collect from their kids under 13. Among other things, COPPA requires entities covered by the law to notify parents and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose personal information from children.

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