The FTC’s recent settlement with Allied Interstate, one of the nation’s largest debt collectors, sends a timely reminder to industry members to comply with the law – and an important message to consumers that the FTC has their back when it comes to companies that cross the line.
Does your business have a wireless network? Do you or your employees ever use wifi to catch up on work from home? Think about all the data that could be transmitted over your wireless network – credit card numbers, bank account information, business secrets. You probably don’t want to share that information with everyone who passes through your neighborhood. But that’s what you’re doing if you don’t use strong encryption and take other steps to secure your home network. Someone nearby could “piggyback” on your network, or even access the information on your computer.
Short-sighted thinking like that has landed a lot of businesses in hot water with law enforcers. They forget that the reach of federal and state consumer protection statutes can be expansive. Under appropriate circumstances, payment processors – as well businesses handling ad copy, telemarketing, fulfillment, and a host of other functions – may be liable for the role they play in another company’s deceptive or unfair practices.
The FTC's Biz Opp Cops have recommended that the Business Opportunity Rule be expanded to include work-at-home opportunities like envelope stuffing, medical billing, and product assembly, many of which have not been covered before. An FTC staff report outlines other suggested changes, including streamlining the disclosures required by the Rule so that people buying business opportunities get important info in a simple, easy-to-re
Our mythic business executive is having a busy day. She’s got a breakfast meeting with Marketing to review an email promotion. Then it’s on to HR to talk about steps to keep personnel records secure. She’ll grab coffee with the Web Team to go over an online product launch and then rush to lunch with the local business club, where the topic is truth-in-advertising standards.
In my family, we're big fans of home delivery. Whether its dinner, clothes, books, or electronics, if it can be delivered to our door, we like it -- and I know we're not alone.
That's one reason I'm telling people about Penn Corner, the FTC's new monthly e-newsletter. It gets delivered to subscribers' inboxes each month. And unlike the jazzy new phone I just ordered, it's absolutely free.
For people with an ailment, Direct Marketing Concepts and ITV Direct had the answer: Coral Calcium or Supreme Greens. But according to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the companies, their corporate officers, and related entities lacked scientific proof for claims that their products could cure or prevent diseases like cancer, arthritis, lupus, Parkinson’s, and MS. The upshot?
The last thing people struggling to keep their heads above perilous financial waters need is an anchor weighing them down. That's why, as of today, businesses must comply with all provisions of new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule designed to curb deception in the sale of debt relief services.
Most importantly, companies that use outbound telemarketing -- or have customers call them in response to ads or other solicitations -- can’t collect fees from customers until:
• they successfully settle or change the terms of at least one of their debts;
This is National Chemistry Week. It’s also National School Bus Week. And be sure to wish members of Team Jacob a happy National Wolf Awareness Week. But for most business travelers, the annual observance that really hits home – or the road – is National Protect Your Identity Week, October 17th through 23rd.
Next Wednesday is a banner day for America’s consumers – and a critical deadline for companies in the debt relief services industry to conduct a head-to-toe compliance check-up on their operations. As of October 27th, businesses that call prospective customers to sell debt relief services – or have customers call them in response to ads or other solicitations – have to comply with new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that make it illegal to charge fees before settling or reducing a customer’s debts.
Maybe you work in the tech sector. Perhaps your firm has clients with a big internet presence. Or maybe you're responsible for paying attention to how your family uses the computer. That's why you'll want to know about the Net Cetera Community Outreach Toolkit, a free resource just released by OnGuardOnline.gov.
Owners of small businesses wrestling with tax obligations are sure to have seen the ads. American Tax Relief LLC promised to settle customers’ delinquent federal and state taxes for a fraction of what they owe, as well as put a stop to tax liens, bank levies, and property seizures. But according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the company charged up-front fees ranging from about $3,200 to $25,000 and offered little in return.
Today, the FTC is releasing proposed changes to its Green Guides. For years, the Green Guides have offered practical steps businesses can take to make sure that claims for a product’s environmental qualities aren’t misleading.
In the holiday classic "Miracle on 34th Street," optimists and skeptics debated the existence of Kris Kringle. Nobody would liken effective advertising self-regulation to Santa Claus, but the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) – located on 36th Street in New York – has made believers out of a lot of people. Kicking off its annual conference today, the NAD is a forum for monitoring and evaluating truth and accuracy in national advertising.
Many homeowners are struggling to keep the financial roof from caving in – and questionable claims in mortgage ads make it even tougher to do. Continuing its fight against deception in mortgage advertising, the FTC has proposed a rule that would ban misrepresentations and would allow the FTC and the states to seek financial penalties against businesses that violate the rule.
There’s lots of public information out there about people. So it’s no surprise there’s a booming business in the sale of data – and in the sale of services that promise to protect personal information. The FTC’s recent settlement with data broker US Search demonstrates that like any other advertising claims, representations about privacy and security must be substantiated.
Lots of businesses rely on telemarketers to sell their products and services. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably heard of the National Do Not Call Registry, which gives people the right to limited unwanted telemarketing calls. Did you know people have placed more than 200 million phone numbers on the Do Not Call list?
Many smaller companies want to extend health benefits to employees, but are concerned about keeping the price affordable. For people who own their own business or are looking for work, cost-effective coverage can be tough to find. If you’re in the market for health insurance, make sure that’s what you’re buying. Some programs pitched to small businesses, the self-employed, and the uninsured sound like affordable health insurance, but actually are medical discount plans. Although some plans may offer legitimate savings, others take people’s money and provide very little in return.
You fought off a hostile takeover and went toe to toe with the most aggressive competitor in the business. But now you’re facing the toughest crowd of all: a classroom of fifth graders at the local elementary school’s Career Day. No need to be frozen with fear when Admongo – an online videogame that educates kids about advertising – is just a click away.