There’s been a lot of talk about breaking records these past few weeks. But here’s one you won’t see on the sports pages: the FTC’s $22.5 million settlement with Google, the largest civil penalty ever against a single defendant. The penalty stems from FTC charges that Google didn’t give users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser the straight story about the use of tracking cookies. That, says the FTC, violated the terms of Google’s 2011 privacy settlement.
Last year, U.S. pet owners spent over $50 billion on their pets. That’s a lot of puppy chow, chew toys, and rhinestone collars. But it also reflects significant expenditures for pet health products and services, including veterinary office visits and medicines. In fact, in 2011 American consumers spent nearly $7 billion on pet medications alone.
If you’ve been following the ongoing story of the FTC’s law enforcement action stemming from Neovi, Inc.'s Qchex check-writing system, the Court’s recent contempt ruling will make for interesting reading. If those names aren’t familiar to you — and you have clients in the payments arena — it’s time to get up to speed.
The FTC asked for your input and you chimed in with 350 comments about the future of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. Based on what you said — and what we’ve learned through law enforcement — we’re back, asking for your help in thinking through modifications to certain definitions to clarify the scope of the Rule and strengthen its protections.
“I just want to say one word to you, Benjamin. Plastics.”
During the cocktail party scene in the classic movie “The Graduate,” that’s the advice Ben Braddock got for mapping out his future. It wasn’t such a bad tip after all since so much stuff — including the pocket money we use for day-to-day expenditures — has gone plastic.
Identity theft has been the top complaint that consumers have reported to the FTC for 12 years in a row. We’ve also heard from companies that ID theft can cause huge headaches in the form of unauthorized charges, worthless receivables, and customer service snafus. That’s why business executives should be at the forefront in the drive for identity protection.
How would you like to listen in when federal agencies talk to each other about policies that could have an impact on your company? If your business is breaking into the mobile marketplace, lend an ear.
It’s not an easy time to be a timeshare owner. And the last thing they need is a company making false promises that corporate buyers and renters are clamoring for their timeshares — if owners will just pony up a “registration fee” between $500 and $2,000. According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC and Florida AG, that’s what was going on with an Orlando-based outfit called Information Management Forum.
HR could use better PR. Say "human resources" and some people think of Dunder Mifflin’s joy-deficient Toby Flenderson from "The Office." But you know better and appreciate the job your HR team does to keep your organization up and running. They're also a critical line of defense between your company and the onslaught of data thieves and scammers. The BCP Business Center has a special page to make their job a little easier.
People who signed up with the Jacksonville-based Alcoholism Cure Corporation were promised a “scientifically proven” program that “cures alcoholism while allowing alcoholics to drink socially.” What they got was a shopping list, instructions to take handfuls of unproven supplements, and a particularly troubling surprise when they tried to cancel their membership.
Remember the character from the Superman comic books who was the exact opposite of the Man of Steel? He said no when he meant yes, his alter ego went by the name "Kent Clark," and was part of the Injustice League of America. It made for fun reading, but you wouldn’t want him crafting your ad claims.
Consumer complaints about robocalls have multiplied. New technologies make it cheaper to send pre-recorded messages and con artists have gotten trickier about obscuring the origin of their calls. But businesses shouldn’t be tempted to take telemarketing short-cuts because the FTC is cracking down on illegal robocalls.
Never underestimate the creativity of marketers attempting to separate cash-strapped consumers from their last dollar. And never underestimate the FTC’s resolve to protect people from deception in tough economic times. Those are just two points to take from recent FTC law enforcement actions.
Ask any golfer. How you address the ball matters, but don’t underestimate the importance of the follow-through. In law enforcement, too, follow-through can be key. A recent development in the FTC’s action involving Neil Wardle illustrates that point.
Unless you’re playing Scrabble and use QI or ZA on a triple letter square, two-letter words usually don’t count for much. A consumer perception study released by the FTC suggests that two common two-letter words often used in ads may not have the effect of qualifying product claims that some marketers and copywriters think they have. Any guess what those words are?
Square cut or pear shape,
These rocks don’t lose their shape.
The FTC's law enforcement action against hotel company Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and three of its subsidiaries alleges that a series of security breaches — three within two years — resulted in fraudulent charges, millions of dollars in fraud loss, and the export of hundreds of thousands of people's account information to an Internet domain address registered in Russia. According to the lawsuit, a number of the defendants' practices, taken together, unreasonably and unnecessarily exposed consumers' personal data, including their cre
At the BCP Business Center, we offer tips on how to stay on the right side of the law. But we also do our best to spread the word about the latest frauds targeting businesses — and this one’s a piece of work. If your company accepts checks or online payments, you’ll want to be on the look-out for a scam that could leave you with a stack of worthless paper.