Business Blog

Calling all cards

We’ve been saying it for years:  “What the headline giveth, the footnote cannot taketh away.”  The same holds true for the dense block of text, the hidden-away reverse side, the vague hyperlink, or any other place the FTC has warned advertisers may not meet the standard for “clear and conspicuous” disclosure.  A recent settlement involving long distance phone cards emphasizes what’s not so fine about fine print.

FTC and CFPB host roundtable on data integrity in debt collection

When the topic turns to debt collection, some people assume the only thing that changes hands is money.  But there’s another important consideration:  the life cycle of consumer information as it flows through the debt collection process.  That's the subject of Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a June 6, 2013, roundtable co-hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Updated FAQs to help keep your company COPPA-compliant

A lot has been happening on the COPPA front.  A few years ago, the FTC announced it was taking a fresh look at the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule to make sure it was keeping up with the times.  Hundreds attended a national workshop to offer their candid assessment of what could be done to improve the Rule.  Then came more than 400 written comments from consumer groups, industry, educators, and parents.  You suggested sensible steps to keep Moms and Dads in the driver's seat about the information companies collect from their kids online while also streamlining compliance for busi

Fraud harms 25.6 million people: Anyone you know?

The FTC is always working to know more about the types of fraud being committed and who spends money on them.  Periodically, we survey consumers and ask them to share details about their recent marketplace experiences and a bit about themselves.  Our most recent survey found that nearly 11% of U.S. adults — an estimated 25.6 million people — paid for fraudulent products and services in 2011.

Mo' bill messaging

We can’t figure out why Hollywood hasn’t returned our call, but here's a great idea for an action movie.  FTC attorneys go to court to stop a company from illegally billing people for text message-based subscription services they never asked for and didn’t authorize.  We even have a can’t-miss title:  Crambo.

Get smart?

The people with really cool glasses and fancier gadgets than the rest of us call it "the Internet of Things" — the fact that everyday devices are starting to communicate with each other and with us.  Already we can use a smartphone to start the car, turn on the AC before we get home, and have the doctor monitor the trajectory of our blood pressure in traffic.  But what if when we drive near a grocery store, our refrigerator lets us know we’re low on milk?  Would that be convenient?  Disconcerting?  Or maybe a little bit of both

How to Comply with the Funeral Rule

The Funeral Rule establishes some basic requirements that apply to all funeral providers. Who’s considered a funeral provider? Any business that sells funeral goods and funeral services to the public, including funeral directors, funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematories, among other businesses. 

One key provision requires those covered by the Rule to give potential clients a written price list of the goods and services their business provides. The Rule also spells out some practices that are not allowed. For example, it is not permitted to:

Fair? Enough!

Fair Guide.  Is it a list of consumer protection laws?  With summer coming, maybe ratings of the best funnel cakes and Ferris wheels?  Forgive the flight of fancy, but we see it as a great title for a compendium of blog posts about business compliance.  But that’s not what it is — not by a longshot.

Faux claims for faux fur

In some ways, think of it as “faux faux fur.”  No, that’s not a typo.  It’s what results when national retailers advertise items of apparel as fake fur, when in fact, they contain, well, fur.  Those are just some of the allegations in recent FTC complaints against The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., DrJays.com, Inc., and Eminent, Inc. (which shoppers may know as Revolve Clothing).

Building your VOCabulary

The FTC just accepted final settlements with two of the largest paint manufacturers in the country — Sherwin-Williams and PPG Architectural Finishes.  The complaints charged that the companies made deceptive “zero VOC” claims for their Dutch Boy Refresh and Pure Performance brands.  But along with the settlements, the FTC issued an Enforcement Policy Statement that's a must-read if you're thinking about making similar claims and want to comply wit

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