On classic episodes of the Tonight Show, affable sidekick Ed McMahon sought guidance from Johnny Carson's all-knowing Carnac character. But as demonstrated by a recent FTC law enforcement action — which involved a company's misleading reference to the late Mr. McMahon — you don't need a psychic to know that challenging deceptive debt collection practices remains a top priority.
It's on now: the FTC's national workshop In Short: Advertising & Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World. How can you get involved?
Identity theft hits millions of Americans each year. What many business executives don’t know is that ID thieves are using a variation on the crime to prey on legitimate companies.
In Short: Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World — an FTC workshop to discuss guidance on disclosures in the online and mobile world — is set for May 30, 2012. This is the latest development in the ongoing conversation about revising the FTC’s 2000 guidance publication, Dot Com Disclosures.
An FTC Administrative Law Judge ruled that POM Wonderful LLC and related parties made misleading claims that POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and other products would treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction. Although the remedy in the case wasn’t everything the FTC staff had asked for, the ALJ concluded that POM had engaged in false and deceptive advertising.
According to the FTC, Skechers made false and deceptive claims about the benefits of Shape-ups and other Skechers brands. If you’re in the fitness or health business, the $40 million settlement should grab your attention. But the underlying principles apply to all advertisers. If you're looking to get a leg up on substantiation, here are some footnotes to take from the case.
It’s usually Skechers promising to help people shape up. But this time, the shoe’s on the other foot. In a $40 million settlement announced by the FTC — part of a broader agreement that also resolves charges by state AGs — the agency is telling Skechers to shape up its claims for Shape-ups and other Skechers shoes.
Drip pricing: It may sound like something involving faulty plumbing fixtures, but it's the practice of advertising only part of a product’s price up front and then revealing other charges as the shopper goes through the buying process.
On May 21, 2012, the FTC is sponsoring a Conference on the Economics of Drip Pricing. The panels of econ profs — boasting more degrees than a thermometer — will discuss empirical analyses of drip pricing and the policy implications for consumers and competition.
Social network site Myspace promised users it wouldn’t share their personally identifiable information in a way that was inconsistent with the reason people provided the info, without first notifying them and getting their approval. The company also said that information used to customize ads wouldn’t identify people to third parties and that Myspace wouldn’t share browsing activity that wasn’t anonymous.
The FTC just released the preliminary agenda for the May 30, 2012, workshop to consider the need for new guidance for online advertisers about making disclosures. If that’s a topic of interest to your business (and it’s tough to imagine a company not involved in those discussions), you’ll want to stay up on the latest.
What’s on the schedule for May 30th? After a kick-off presentation on usability research, the workshop will feature four panels:
An undercover inspection at a funeral home? It may sound like the plot summary for a movie pitch, but it's the very real — and very serious — work of people trying to make sure consumers are protected when they're shopping for funeral services.
This one took some chutzpah — with a capital -CHHH. But there's a message, too, for companies that want to keep their promotions on the up-and-up.
People are going mobile — so transactions are, too. Today the FTC is hosting a national workshop, Paper, Plastic . . . Mobile, to consider the consumer protection implications of mobile payments. How can you get involved?
Does the IRS have a Form 1039? Do drivers ever get their kicks on Route 67? And does 3.14158 ever feel unappreciated because pi gets all the attention?
Most attorneys and business executives are familiar with Section 5 of the FTC Act, which outlaws unfair or deceptive trade practices. But Section 6 also plays a critical role in protecting consumers. Specifically, Section 6(b) authorizes the FTC to get information from companies — “special reports” — about certain aspects of their business.
Earth Day is approaching and it’s great when businesses decide to go green. But if the “green” they have in mind is the hard-earned cash of consumers interested in making wiser environmental choices, companies should remember that well-settled truth-in-advertising principles apply. The FTC’s law enforcement action against the people behind the “Green Millionaire” promotion emphasizes that point.
If you haven’t already, hover up to your toolbar and bookmark the FTC’s Regulatory Review page. It’s your one-stop resource for what's coming up and what’s going down with Commission rules and guides of interest to your business and your clients. Recent announcements about the FTC's regulatory review schedule make it a must-read.
Mobile devices are changing how people go about their daily lives, and that includes how they pay for stuff. As announced in January, the FTC is hosting a workshop on April 26, 2012, to examine the use of mobile payments in the marketplace and their effects on consumers. The workshop — which will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. — is free and open to the public. The agenda is now available.