Business Blog

"I read the news today, oh boy"

There's "Life of Pi" and "Life of Brian," Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson,” the sitcom “Life of Riley,” and the Beatles’ ground-breaking “A Day in the Life.”   We view Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a roundtable hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as pretty ground-breaking, too.  And the topic — the flow of consumer data through the debt collection process — should attract the interest of your clients in the financial field.

Mom, Home, and Mobile Security

Is there a more "apple pie” issue than mobile security?  It’s hard to come up with one.  That’s because a safe environment for mobile commerce is critical to the continued growth of that marketplace — and because you haven’t torn yourself away from your mobile device since you huffed and puffed to the Spice Girls at step aerobics class in ’99.

Possible changes loom for FTC's Textile Rules

Never let it be said that the FTC doesn’t have your back — or sleeve, cuff, waistband, or wherever else you find the label that discloses the kind of fabric a product is made of.  If your business touches on textiles, you’re familiar with the requirements of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and the FTC’s accompanying Textile Rules.  Are you in the loop

Calling for comments about proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule

We’re not one to loft accolades in the direction of fraudulent telemarketers, but we’ll say this about them:  They’re a quick study when it comes to using new technologies and business methods to their shady advantage.  As part of its ongoing effort to protect consumers from deceptive telemarketing, the FTC is proposing amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that would curtail the use of certain kinds of payments that have become fast favorites among fraudsters.

FTC-3PO

We've been patient.  It's been years since "Star Wars" came out and we still don't have a gold-plated droid to do our bidding.  But companies have introduced a slew of "smart" products that perform a lot of the same functions.

Take a letter

Today’s Business Blog post is brought to you by the letters C-O-P-P-A. If your website or online service is covered by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, you’re readying your business for the changes that go into effect on July 1, 2013. For the benefit of those looking for a compliance refresher, the FTC just sent out letters to more than 90 companies that may be affected by the revision to the Rule.

Assist-sense: Insights on liability under the Telemarketing Sales Rule

Lending a helping hand is great when you’re talking about a barn raising, a rent party, or assisting a little old lady across the street.  But when the activity in question is, well, questionable — like selling businesses technology that can be used to place illegal robocalls — companies need to make sure they’re not assisting and facilitating violations of the law.  That’s one message your clients should take from the FTC’s settlement with Skyy Consulting, which also does business under the name CallFire.

Senior Identity Theft: A Problem in this Day and Age

When it comes to older consumers, the usual anti-identity theft advice still applies.  But as we get older, we’re more likely to receive government benefits, visit the doctor regularly, or ponder a move to Del Boca Vista Phase 3 — lifestyle changes that may present different kinds of ID theft concerns.  Sure, it's an important topic for older consumers and their families.  But if you have clients in the financial services, healthcare, or residential care sector, an upcoming FTC workshop will help them focus on what this means for businesses, too.

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:

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