To the FTC and our 74 local, state, federal, and non-profit partners, March 2nd through 8th is National Consumer Protection Week. But when you think about it, it’s a time for businesses to celebrate, too. It’s just that National Shout-Out to Companies that Tell the Truth, Honor Their Promises, and Work Hard to Earn Customers’ Loyalty Week wouldn’t fit neatly on a button or banner.
The awards season may be over for the entertainment industry, but it’s time for consumer protection to take its turn on the red carpet. (Of course, no one should ever have to ask “Who are you wearing?” A quick look at the label and a search in the FTC’s RN Database will provide that information instantly.) If we were giving out the statuettes, here are some of the winners from movies and TV.
At first, consumers thought it was their lucky day. They had received text messages announcing they had won a $1,000 gift card from a major retailer. But they ended up with their hopes in the tank – in this case, CPATank, Inc., and Eagle Web Assets, Inc., the latest defendants to settle FTC charges for sending deceptive unsolicited texts. The law enforcement action offers interesting insights into affiliate marketing and the breadth of liability under the
The “Inc.” after a company’s name can provide certain legal protections, but let’s get one thing clear: It’s not a shield that corporate officers can hide behind to avoid personal liability for violations of the FTC Act. A decision by the U.S.
Not every building project starts with an ax-wielding guy in a flannel shirt yelling “tim-berrrr!” Consumers have another choice these days: plastic lumber, which is often used in decking, fences, outdoor furniture, etc. Wisconsin-based N.E.W.
When did a light bulb become the symbol of a good idea? We don’t know, but a ruling in the FTC’s lawsuit against Lights of America – including a $21 million order mandating refunds for consumers and some bookmark-worthy notable quotes from the Court – should serve as a light bulb moment for marketers.
In old movies, ransom notes came in the form of pasted letters cut from newspapers. There’s a new kind of ransom that could pose a substantial risk to your business. Have you alerted your staff about how to protect one of your company’s most valuable assets?
Usually when someone says “keep it under your hat,” they’re asking you to keep information confidential. But when the FTC staff says “keep it under your hat” – and the hat in question is made of wool – we mean the exact opposite. To us, it’s a reminder to marketers that hats containing wool must have labels that clearly disclose what the product is made of.
Familiar with Fantage? If you have kids, they probably are. It’s a MMORPG – a massively multiplayer online role-playing game – where millions of children customize avatars to play online games in a virtual world. According to the FTC, there are a few more initials this MMORPG will want to be mindful of in the future: the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.
Consumers may not know it, but there are technologies out there that let retailers and others track their movements within and around stores and other attractions through their mobile devices. Businesses can use the information to identify trends in consumer behavior, plan sales and promotions, and more efficiently staff their stores and structure check-out (although no matter how sophisticated the technology, we always manage to choose the slow-moving line).
We’re not lyricists, but had the 1972 hit “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” been addressed to defendants in FTC actions, here’s our proposed rewrite:
You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t engage in acts and practices in contempt of a United States District Judge’s Permanent Injunction.
Imagine doing a routine online search and having the search engine serve up files that include medical histories, notes from psychiatric sessions and children’s medical exams, sensitive information about drug abuse or pregnancy loss, and personal data like Social Security and driver’s license numbers. That suggests a breach that “uh-oh” doesn’t begin to cover. The FTC’s lawsuit against GMR Transcription Services –
Today is Data Security Day. You've educated your staff about limiting access to sensitive information, locking up confidential paperwork, and securing the network. But Latanya Sweeney, the FTC’s new Chief Technologist, just clued us in about a potential security vulnerability you, your HR team, and your web master can do something right now to correct.
When an ad purports to show a “right before your eyes” demonstration of a product in action, the visual must be a truthful representation of what it can do. If that’s not the case, both the advertiser and the ad agency can find themselves in law enforcement quicksand. That may have been news to Don Draper and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper in the early 60s, but it’s been a well-established legal tenet since then. The FTC’s complaint against Nissan North Amer
Business may seem borderless these days, but it’s important that companies honor applicable legal principles. That’s especially true when it comes to privacy. The good news for U.S.
What do dirty diapers and deceptive ads have in common? (We’ll pause a moment so you can add your own punch line.) Now that’s out of the way, the action against Portland-based Down to Earth Designs – consumers know them as gDiapers – is the FTC's latest effort to ensure the accuracy of environmental marketing claims. But even if green isn't your game, the case also offers insights into what the FTC calls "unqualified claims."
Whooping it up can be fun, but hooping it up – requiring consumers to jump through hoops to exercise their rights under the Fair Credit Report Act – is illegal. That’s one message businesses can take from the FTC’s $3.5 million settlement with TeleCheck.
Update (3/27/14): Apple will notify people about how to get refunds by April 15. The settlement requires Apple to provide full refunds for in-app charges made by kids without parental permission.
They’re incredibly valuable. In the wrong hands, they can be dangerous. And they’re in your workplace right now. What are they? Your employees’ Social Security numbers. Are you taking commonsense steps to thwart tax identity theft at your business?
In a drive to encourage truth in auto advertising, the FTC has announced Operation Steer Clear – a coast-to-coast law enforcement sweep focusing on deceptive TV, newspaper, and online claims about sales, financing, and leasing. If you have clients in the auto industry, the lessons of Operation Steer Clear can help keep them on the right track.