If you or your clients work in the multi-level marketing (MLM) arena, a decision by a federal judge in the FTC's lawsuit against BurnLounge, Inc., merits your attention. The defendants — the company, the CEO, and top salesmen — used claims of hefty profits to sell opportunities to run online digital music stores. According to the FTC, the outfit masqueraded as a legitimate MLM program, but really was an illegal pyramid scheme.
If you have clients in the auto industry, you’ve seen the ads: “We’ll pay off your trade no matter what you owe . . . even if you’re upside down.” It’s an attractive claim to people struggling with their finances. But law enforcement settlements announced by the FTC with five dealers from around the country demonstrate the importance of giving people the straight story when making promises about trade-ins where negative equity is involved.
South Dakota can be lovely this time of year, but consumers struggling financially shouldn’t have to travel there to respond to actions filed against them in a tribal court that doesn’t have jurisdiction over their case. That’s what the FTC has alleged in its amended complaint against Payday Financial, LLC, a company that pitches its short-term, high-fee loans in TV ads and online.
It’s helpful when advertisers can get a window into the FTC’s thinking about certain ad claims — and five recent settlements with companies that sell replacement windows offer just that.
According to the FTC, the businesses made exaggerated and unsupported representations about the energy efficiency of their windows, and about how much money people could save on their heating and cooling bills by having them installed. What did the ads say? Things like:
Dot Com Disclosures — the FTC’s staff publication about online advertising — was published 12 years ago. Of course, the same basic consumer protection principles apply online, in mobile marketing, and in other media, but a lot has happened since then. In light of technological changes, is it time for revised guidance about making disclosures required by FTC law?
For some, a discussion of childhood and technology brings back fond memories of Easy Bake Ovens and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. But like their parents, these kids today (Didn’t we swear we’d never use the phrase "these kids today"?) are embracing the opportunities presented by smartphones, tablets, and the burgeoning app market. But what about the privacy considerations when children and teens use apps?
OK, OK. We can hear your groans through the speakers. But if you’re in the textile or apparel industry, you’ll want to know that the FTC is asking for public comment on the future of the Wool Products Labeling Rules.
When the FTC conducts an investigation to see if a company has violated the law, it’s important that the process is efficient and not unduly burdensome on those involved. The FTC’s Rules of Practice lay out the procedures the Commission follows.
It may look like just another legal document, but for American consumers, one of the most powerful tools for protecting their interests is within the four corners of an FTC settlement order.
In the market for a $430 case of shower caps or some “dolphin shaped craft embellishments”? Have they got a deal for you! But for people who thought they were paying $99 up front and $19 a month for a credit card, all they got was access to the defendants’ online store, which sold bulk quantities of off-brand, overpriced items.
To our knowledge, there’s no app yet that tells people when the FTC staff has sent warning letters discussing how the Fair Credit Reporting Act operates in the world of mobile applications. But the way the app market is growing, some savvy developer will have one out by the time you finish this. In the meantime, read on.
Six online marketers have settled FTC charges stemming from their use of fake news websites to market acai berry supplements and other weight loss products. If you’re an affiliate marketer or you’re thinking about building an affiliate program into your business plan, the cases merit your attention.
Of course, people are responsible for their debts. However, at a certain point, how much time has passed becomes an affirmative defense under state law and creditors can’t prevail in court. But what happens if a payment is made on a time-barred debt? A consumer can really get clocked — because in many states the debt can be revived if a person makes a payment or says in writing that they intend to. The FTC has announced a $2.5 million settlement with Asset Acceptance, LLC, for allegedly breaking the law in how it tried to collect
The BCP Business Center is here to help you comply with applicable laws. But we’re also committed to protecting business owners from deception. That’s why it’s important you have accurate information if you’re thinking about investing in precious metals. An ongoing FTC law enforcement action suggests that potential investors should step on the brakes if salespeople tout big money and low risks.
How consumers pay for things is changing. Pretty soon exasperated parents may start reminding kids that “mobile payments don’t grow on trees.” And if there’s a remake of “Jerry McGuire,” the sports agent may yell to his client “Show me the mobile payment!”
Last Friday, the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signed a memorandum of understanding outlining how the agencies will work together. The CFPB — born out of the recent financial system overhaul — and the FTC now share responsibility for protecting consumers in the non-bank financial sector.
We’re glad you’re visiting the BCP Business Center and thanks for your questions. Here are answers to some of your AQs. (Calling them FAQs on a site devoted to truth in advertising doesn’t seem quite right.)
It may be tempting for a payment processor to look the other way about a client’s business practices, figuring it’s the merchant’s job to get proper consumer authorization for charges submitted for processing. But donning blinders can lead to regrettable results, as an FTC action against a payment processor shows.
When consumers comparison shop, cost is crucial. That’s why it’s so important for companies to make sure what they say about their prices is accurate. If businesses need a timely reminder, the FTC’s proposed $5 million settlement with CVS Caremark drives that point home.
The terms of an FTC settlement apply just to that business, of course. But clued-in companies know there’s a lot that can be learned from someone else’s alleged misstep. The FTC’s law enforcement action against Upromise is no exception.