When we announced Operation Collection Protection in November, a federal-state crackdown on illegal debt collection practices, we said it was just the start of a historic partnership – and we weren’t kidding.
For a while now, pundits have been talking about the three V’s of big data: Volume – the vast quantity of information that can be gathered and analyzed; Velocity – the speed with which companies can accumulate, analyze, and use new data; and Variety – the breadth of data companies can analyze effectively.
When a company promises to encrypt dentists’ patient data, but fails to live up to established standards, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the FTC would bristle. A $250,000 proposed settlement with Henry Schein Practice Solutions, Inc., and a new FTC video remind companies to brush up on security-related data hygiene.
Ads for Lumosity’s “brain training” program made it sound simple. Play games for 10-15 minutes several times a week to delay memory decline; protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; improve school, work, and athletic performance; and reduce the effects of everything from ADHD to post-traumatic stress disorder. But an FTC complaint alleges that defendant Lumos Labs didn’t have sound science to support those claims. What’s the message for marketers?
Cars are one of the biggest purchases a consumer will ever make. Researching models and options is only part of the process. Prospective buyers also have to consider price negotiations, trade-in, and financing. Since 2011, the FTC has brought more than 25 cases challenging illegal practices in this area.
2015 saw the end of The Late Show with David Letterman, but his Top 10 List legacy lives on. From the home office in Washington, D.C., here is our informal take on ten topics we covered this year in the BCP Business Blog.
Think of it like Woodstock – minus the mud and the seven-minute solo by Santana’s drummer.
Set for January 14, 2016, PrivacyCon won’t offer “3 days of peace & music,” but the FTC is bringing together some of the most intriguing thinkers from universities and think tanks around the world to present 19 original studies on privacy-related topics.
If what looks to be an article, video, or game is really an ad – but it’s not readily identifiable to consumers as such – the FTC has another word for it: deceptive. Ads that blur the line between advertising and content have long been a consumer protection concern under Section 5 of the FTC Act.
When consumers updated Java SE, which has been installed on more than 850 million computers, Oracle Corporation promised “safe and secure access to the world of amazing Java content” and stated that the updates had “the latest . . . security improvements.” But according to a settlement just announced by the FTC, when it came to those security updates, Java SE was pouring decaf.
Some operators of websites and online services directed at children would do well to learn a lesson that youngsters often know: ask permission before using something that’s not yours.
The law may not authorize the use of light sabers, but to protect consumers and ensure that companies comply with existing orders, the FTC will use the forces within its power. It’s a lock that the agency’s $100 million settlement with LifeLock – one of the largest redress orders of its kind – makes that point as big as life.
Data security watchers read with interest the United States Court of Appeals’ decision earlier this year in FTC v. Wyndham, upholding the FTC’s authority to challenge allegedly lax data security practices under the unfairness prong of the FTC Act. We view that ruling as a milestone victory for consumers and for companies of all sizes that are committed to keeping customers’ personal information secure.
Maybe “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but deceptively describing rayon clothing as bamboo isn’t so sweet – and violates the FTC’s Textile Rules. In addition to civil penalties totaling $1.3 million, settlements with Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney Company, and Backcountry.com suggest another important point for industry members: Don’t ignore warnings about deceptive ads and misleading labels.
As the song by The Who asks, “Who are you?” When it comes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, many companies think they know who they are. If they’re third-party debt collectors, they’re covered by the FDCPA. If they’re creditors collecting their own debts, they aren’t. But as I mentioned recently in a presentation at an industry event, it’s not that simple.
The marketers of products as diverse as dietary supplements, mobile apps, cosmetics, and apparel may not think they have much in common. But if they make health-related representations, they all need sound science to support what they say. Here are five principles to help keep your practices in line with the law.
A small business or nonprofit gets what appears to be an invoice for a listing in an online yellow pages directory. On the face of it, it looks legit. It includes the name of an employee at the office, a copy of what the listing looks like, the “walking fingers” symbol associated with directories – and a demand for the $486.95 the business or nonprofit supposedly owes for the listing. What’s really going on?
On the Periodic Table of Elements, copper is designated as CU. The FTC’s lawsuit against Tommie Copper, Inc., the seller of copper-infused compression wear, suggests it may be time to conduct a periodic check of the elements in your ads to C that U have proof to back up your claims.
People usually think of beacons as radiant lights that attract attention. But the FTC has charged that two Ohio auto dealers (among other things) used the word in a way that kept consumers in the dark.
Mark February 9, 2016, on your calendar. That’s when the FTC’s Start with Security roadshow moves to Seattle and you’ll want to be there.
For online retailers, Cyber Monday can set the stage for a gleeful gift-giving season. Here are five tips to help make your “presents” known to holiday shoppers.