The FTC has gone to court hundreds of times to stop allegedly misleading weight loss claims and Roca Labs’ “gastric bypass alternative” promises are no exception. But other parts of the complaint – including a count challenging the defendants’ use of consumer gag clauses as an unfair practice – warrant a careful reading.
Baseball lore has it that Hall of Famer Ted Williams’ eyesight was so acute he could see the seams on a fastball. Developers of an app called Ultimeyes claimed that using their product “gives baseball players superhuman vision.” For some of us though, a daily task like reading a menu in a dimly lit restaurant is a swing and a miss. No problem, said the company. “25 minutes on this app will improve your vision by 31%” – results supposedly verified by a published university study.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act isn’t just about credit. If your company uses background checks in making personnel decisions, the FTC reminds you of your obligations under the FCRA. In honor of Throwback Thursday, here’s an unconventional old-school summary of key requirements under federal law. Spin the mirrored disco ball and join us on the dance floor for “F-C-R-A.”
You don’t need to go to a water park to see performing seals. You can spot them on websites where they perform the function of conveying information about the purported environmental benefits of products. But do the groups offering those seals – and the companies that display them – have appropriate proof for the claims consumers take from them? If your clients use environmental seals or certifications, you’ll want to see the latest from the FTC staff.
When the conversation turns to health, the word “homeopathy” often pops up. But what is homeopathy? What does the consumer marketplace look like? And how does the FTC’s long-standing substantiation doctrine apply to claims for OTC products advertised as homeopathic? That's the topic of an FTC workshop on Monday, September 21, 2015.
If there’s a material connection between a marketer and an endorser, disclose it. That’s been the FTC standard for decades and it didn't change when marketing moved to social media. The FTC’s proposed settlement with online entertainment network Machinima illustrates missteps that could land advertisers, ad agencies, and PR firms in testimonial turmoil. But what about endorsers, affiliates, influencers, brand ambassadors, etc.?
Does your company use background checks in evaluating job applicants? If so, are you complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s notice, consent, and disclosure requirements? A closing letter the FTC staff sent to California Health & Wellness elaborates on the applicability – or, in this instance, the inapplicability – of a narrow FCRA exception.
The FTC’s first Start with Security conference – the latest in a line of initiatives emphasizing the importance of data security – kicks off on Wednesday, September 9th, in San Francisco in cooperation with UC Hastings College of the Law. Not able to be there in person? Don’t worry. You won’t be left sitting on the dock of the bay. You can watch the webcast from your desk. In addition, the FTC has a new resource for companies interested in starting with security.
What information are kids’ app developers collecting, who are they sharing it with, and what are they telling parents about their practices? The FTC staff first asked those questions in 2012. Fast forward three years, and how have things changed? According to the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation, the glass is both half-full and half-empty.
It’s one thing to create buzz about a product. But fail to disclose a material connection between an endorser and an advertiser and that buzz can wind up stinging you. That’s the message of an FTC lawsuit against Machinima, a top entertainment network on YouTube that specializes in videogame culture and generates more than 3 billion (with a b) views each month.
It’s called PrivacyCon and the first-of-its-kind FTC event is scheduled for January 14, 2016.
Marketers of Vemma juice drinks went to college campuses and elsewhere to recruit “affiliates” for their “opportunity.” Affiliates were encouraged to recruit more affiliates, who in turn would recruit more affiliates, who in turn . . . . You get the picture: Lather, rinse, repeat.
Last year the FTC received 280,998 complaints about questionable debt collection practices. We think consumers and responsible members of the industry can agree that number is higher than it should be. The FTC is fighting that battle on three fronts. We’ve brought dozens of cases – both on our own and with state partners – to enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Section 5.
It doesn’t take much to convince us we need something new for the shoe closet – and our vintage high-tops and periwinkle platforms stand as a silent testament to that. But an ultraviolet light contraption advertised to kill germs, fungus, and bacteria, including MRSA, inside shoes? An FTC settlement with the marketers of shUVee gives the boot to those misleading claims.
You’ve read Start with Security: A Guide for Business, the new brochure about the FTC’s 53 data security settlements. You’ve digested the lessons learned from those cases. The next step: applying them at your company. The FTC has an easy way to get the ball rolling.
The classic 40s movie An Email to Three Wives, the R&B hit Take an Email, Maria, and C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Emails. The titles would have been different if they had been written recently. Email is an essential part of most companies’ marketing strategy.
The search for the Death Star that will destroy illegal robocalls once and for all is still underway, but the solution is one step closer. The FTC just announced that judges have selected winners in Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back, a contest to come up with tech tools to further the fight against annoying pre-recorded calls. The winner: a mobile app that blocks and forwards robocalls to a crowd-sourced honeypot.