On the old game show “Password,” the host whispered a word to contestants, who then gave clues to celebrities. The first to guess correctly advanced to the Lighting Round. The loser went home with a year’s supply of car wax.
Is the sky blue? Is the Pope Catholic? A July 14th closing letter the FTC staff sent to PayPal addresses another one of those questions with an obvious answer: Are consumers likely to get riled when told that by using a service they’ve “agreed” to receive unsolicited marketing robocalls and text messages?
It’s a common occurrence. People looking online for a product or service – say, a loan or an educational program – find themselves on a site that asks for their personal information. The idea is that consumers will be connected with a company in that business. That exchange of information might offer an easy way to put buyers and sellers together. But sometimes the data wends its way through multiple hands before reaching the business selling what the consumer is looking for.
Federal and state law enforcers and industry members are heading to Dallas on September 29, 2015, to talk about that other Big D – debt collection.
Last month’s Debt Collection Dialogue in Buffalo – sponsored with the New York AG’s Office – drew nearly 200 participants, including many from the debt collection industry.
Record-breaking refund programs are usually cause for celebration. But the FTC’s largest-ever debt collection redress case offers sobering insights into the lengths some companies will go to illegally squeeze the last dime out of people already in financial distress.
Here’s a tip for business travelers. Just because a webpage looks like the official site of your favorite hotel chain doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Before you reserve a room for your next out-of-town meeting or family vacation, make sure you know who’s at the other end of that BOOK NOW button.
There are three letters every auto dealer should know about. GTO? XKE? Good guesses, but not what we had in mind.
We’re talking about GLB.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions to give their customers initial and annual notices about their privacy policies. If the company shares certain customer information with particular types of third parties, they also have to give customers the opportunity to opt out of sharing. The FTC’s Privacy of Consumer Financial Information Rule – friends call it the GLB Privacy Rule – explains the specifics.
Baby boomers are running scared and marketers are in hot pursuit.
“The Federal Trade Commission works for America’s consumers in every community.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said those words or heard them from my colleagues – and that’s a good thing. Of course, business owners are consumers, too, and the FTC works for you in two ways.
First, we strive to protect all consumers – including you, your family, friends, and employees – from deceptive practices.
If you and your clients are concerned about data security – and aren’t we all? – the FTC has something old, something new, and something on the horizon you need to know about.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But here’s one thing that doesn’t belong in Vegas or anywhere else: ads that draw buyers in with eye-catching terms while burying the “gotchas” in fine print. In separate law enforcement actions, the FTC alleged that two Las Vegas dealers – car dealers, that is – didn’t play it straight with consumers.
It’s one of those “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” principles: Don’t use someone’s stuff without their permission. Back then, the rule applied to crayons and cupcakes. A case announced by the FTC and New Jersey AG against the marketers of a free mobile app called Prized proves that it applies to smartphones, too. And you’re not going to believe what the defendants were using people’s phones to do.
The online ads offer consumers a “risk-free trial” of skincare products from companies that claim to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A- rating. How could that possibly be deceptive or unfair? Let us count the ways.
Beef on weck, frozen custard – and one of the largest debt collection industries in the U.S. Those are some of the things Buffalo is known for. That’s why the FTC kicked off its continuing Debt Collection Dialogue in Buffalo on June 15, 2015.
A natural disaster can wreak havoc on any business. But it’s even worse when that real-world catastrophe becomes a data security calamity.
Before the summer storm season arrives, get your business ready. Just like you gather flashlights, bottled water, and emergency supplies, you can prepare your business by reviewing data retention and disposal practices.
Thinking about crowdfunding to raise money for your latest project? If so, you’ll want to pay attention to the FTC’s first crowdfunding case. The lesson: If you launch a crowdfunding campaign, keep your promises.
The Buyers Guide on a used car can’t confirm whether the original owner was that little old lady who just drove to church, but it offers other important information about the scope of any warranty the car comes with. The FTC’s Used Car Rule requires dealers to display the Buyers Guide on used vehicles offered for sale.
Look at those lists of the most admired companies in America and what do you notice about them? Great products, for sure. But many also enjoy stellar reputations for service after the sale. When a buyer is confident you’ll stand by your product, you’ve probably created a customer for life. One measure of that is how you honor your obligations under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Homeopathy has been around for centuries. But what was once a niche product formulated for an individual user has grown into a multibillion-dollar over-the-counter marketplace. Just what is homeopathy? How are homeopathic products advertised? And how does the FTC Act apply to ad claims? Those are a few of the topics on the table at Homeopathic Medicine & Advertising: An FTC Workshop, scheduled for September 21, 2015.
After the FTC revised its Endorsement Guides in 2009, we followed up with What People are Asking, an informal staff publication to answer questions that were on advertisers’ minds. More than five years have passed – a lifetime in blog years – but the legal principles remain the same. What has changed are the kinds of questions we’re getting.