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.
Sprinkle it on food. Slather it on skin. Place drops under the tongue. Regardless of how consumers use your product, if you make weight loss claims, here’s a New Year’s resolution to consider: Make sure you have sound science to support what you say. That’s just one message marketers can take from FTC actions against Sensa, L’Occitane, HCG Diet Direct, and LeanSpa, settlements that will return big money back to consumers – including $26.5 million to peop
Back in the day, consumers looking for a personalized product had to settle for a monogrammed hanky. GeneLink, Inc.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Glitch Happens. In the case of Accretive Health, Inc., it was a laptop taken from the passenger compartment of an employee’s car. What transformed this oops into a full-fledged uh-oh was that the laptop contained files with 20 million pieces of data about 23,000 patients, including sensitive health information. And according to the FTC’s lawsuit, the employee in question didn’t need all that
We got an interesting suggestion recently. “With how fast technology changes, how about building in a process so companies can see if newer methods meet the requirements of existing rules?” A related recommendation: Crowdsourcing. “The FTC could publicize an idea and get feedback from people.” We’re fans of innovation, too, which is why the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule includes a procedure for companies to ask if methods of getting parental consent not listed in COPPA nonetheless meet the Rule’s standards. As for crowdsourcing, we call it a notice and request for public
No one is sliding across the living room floor in shades lip synching to Bob Seger, but violating the FTC’s Risk-Based Pricing Rule is risky business nonetheless. That’s the message of the FTC’s $1.9 million settlement with telecom company Time Warner Cable, Inc., the first case brought under the Risk-Based Pricing Rule.
Get two business owners in a room and you’ll get three opinions about how and when to disclose information to prospective buyers. But if you have clients in the funeral industry, the FTC’s Funeral Rule takes some of the guesswork out of that decision.
Goldenshores Technologies’ “Brightest Flashlight Free” is an incredibly popular Android app downloaded by tens of millions of consumers. But did those people know that when they used the app, it would transmit their precise location and unique device identifier to third parties, including ad networks? According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, Goldenshores didn’t give people the straight story about how their information would be used and then compounded the problem by making them think they could exercise a choice about it – a “ch
Take out your mobile device where you input all that personal information and make note of three upcoming FTC events where the topic of conversation will be, well, the collection and use of all that personal information. But this time we're switching things up a bit. The FTC's Spring Privacy Series will consist of three two-hour seminars focused on emerging issues that consumers, industry groups, consumer advocates, and academics are starting to talk about.
The topic is Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content? An FTC Workshop on Native Advertising — and it's on now. There's a packed house at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington today to examine the blending of ads with news, entertainment, and other content in digital media. If you weren't able to make it, you can still join in. Watch the webcast from your desk.
Most retailers and buyers approach a purchase with the best of intentions. But let's face it: Glitch happens. If a company sells a product with a warranty, consumers need up-front access to information about what the seller will do if things go south later. That’s the thinking behind the FTC’s Rule about the Pre-Sale Availability of Written Warranty Terms.
Your customers are counting down the days before the holiday shopping season begins. As your staff prepares for the retail onslaught, the FTC has tips to help ensure that Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t followed by Consumer Complaint Tuesday and Law Enforcement Wednesday.
Every so often, the FTC announces a law enforcement sweep targeting a particular kind of deceptive practice. Sometimes there’s a press conference featuring federal agencies and state AGs. Blue suits and official seals abound. A typical headline: “More Than 70 Actions Brought By FTC and Its Law Enforcement Partners.” But do you ever wonder what happens after the cameras stop rolling?
Green Foot Global said its EnviroTabs fuel additive was “the world’s 1st multi-vitamin for your engine.” A lawsuit filed by the FTC suggests that one primary nutrient in the environmental “multi-vitamin” was Vitamin D — for Deception.
Call it "cramouflage" — unauthorized (and unexplained) charges that show up on people's mobile phone bills. Regardless of whether consumers use cell phones, land lines, or two cans tied together with string, it’s illegal to bill them without their express consent. That’s always been the law. It’s the law now. And we’ll go out on a limb and predict it’ll always be the law. A settlement involving "cramouflage" charges is the FTC's latest foray against deception in the mobile marketplace.
Here’s a fun fact we didn’t know: Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand. And here's a disturbing observation borne out by FTC experience: Some companies that grease the wheels for fraudsters do bury their heads in the sand. Others go a step further and help cover up their affiliates’ wrongdoing. Either course of conduct could land them in legal hot water. That’s just one message businesses can take from the FTC’s settlement with Process America, Inc.