They’re overhead, on consumers’ minds, and under consideration this afternoon at the latest installment of the FTC’s Fall Technology Series. The topic is drones and experts on drone technology are gathering at the FTC right now to talk over the implications for consumer privacy. The event, which is free and open to the public, takes flight at 1:00 ET at the FTC’s Constitution Center conference facility, 400 7th Street, S.W., in Washington.
It’s a digital spin on an old-school business: an online service that offers to pay “top dollar” for consumers’ used smartphones, laptops, or tablets. The technology may be trending, but according to the FTC and the State of Georgia, Nevada-based Laptop & Desktop Repair engaged in a classic 20th century bait-and-switch – and bilked consumers out of millions in the process.
As consumers age, they want to remain supple, as in limber, lithe, and flexible. Ads for the beverage Supple claimed the product would provide complete and long-lasting relief from joint pain and treat chronic pain caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia. But according to the FTC, the marketers of Supple were a little too flexible – with the facts, that is. The FTC’s lawsuit also challenges the independence of the doctor who endorsed the product.
The FTC’s lawsuit against AMG Services, Scott Tucker, and others challenged deceptive and unfair payday lending and debt collection practices that targeted cash-strapped consumers. The case has already resulted in an important ruling related to the scope of the FTC Act. But an order granting the FTC’s Motion for Summary Judgment includes a history-making provision: a $1.3 billion financial remedy – the largest ever in a litigated FTC case.
It’s a term you see on labels and in advertising, but what does it mean to consumers? The word is “organic,” and consumer interpretations of organic claims for non-agricultural products is the topic on the agenda at an October 20, 2016, roundtable sponsored by the FTC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Not many kids play with yo-yos these days, but an FTC complaint against nine related Los Angeles-area car dealers charges that the companies engaged in (among other things) illegal yo-yo financing practices – and for affected consumers, it was no game. Even if you don’t have clients in the auto industry, this case merits your attention.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. That’s what consumers who signed up for NutraClick’s “free” samples learned. But what can your business take away from the FTC’s settlement with NutraClick? If your company is considering offering a negative option program, and wants it to be a positive experience, you’ll want to read on.
Delivery by drone? We thought the Jetsons’ personal jetpack was the height of futuristic fantasy, but drone technology is bringing benefits like that closer to reality. But what about the consumer protection implications, especially when it comes to privacy? That’s on the agenda at the second installment of the FTC’s Fall Technology Series on drones on October 13, 2016.
There’s an upcoming gotta-be-there trade show for your industry. Your company gets a form in the mail from a P.O. box in the Chicago area asking to confirm your address for a trade show listing. You or a staffer signs without giving it a second thought – until you get the surprise of a lifetime.
Researchers report that 72% of American adults now own a smartphone and when they’re on their phones, 89% of their time is spent on apps. An analysis of how app developers generate revenue raises some interesting issues that touch on consumer privacy.
One pundit has called it the most pervasive industry that nobody knows about, which is why the FTC has sponsored a workshop, brought law enforcement actions, and just published a Staff Perspective to call attention to the consumer protection implications.
As the old saying goes, “The job’s not finished until the paperwork is done.” But since the enactment of the FTC’s Disposal Rule, the job’s not finished until the paperwork – in this case, consumer reports or information derived from them – is securely destroyed.
We’ve cautioned companies to give VW owners the straight story about the $10 billion buyback program resulting from VW’s false “clean diesel” claims. But new promotions claiming to be related to the buyback are making the rounds and wait ‘til you hear who’s in their sights this time: auto dealers.
Ransom notes used to come in the form of pasted letters clipped from newspapers. Now datanappers gain entry through a weak spot in a company’s network, lock the business out of its own system, and hold files – including sensitive health or financial information – for ransom. Would you know how to react if your business is the next victim? And are you taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of that happening?
Gary Numan sang, “Here in my car, I can only receive.” Well, those days are in the past. More and more vehicles are outfitted with the latest communications technologies like Bluetooth, GPS navigation, roadside assistance, streaming music, and web browsing. With mobile technologies in rental cars, consumers’ personal information can stay with the car long after the consumer has returned it. If you’re a car rental company, it’s important to think about protecting consumer privacy in connected rental cars.
Well, that didn’t take long.
The details of the historic $10 billion Volkswagen “clean diesel” settlement are still being finalized – and as we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re already hearing reports of dealers targeting VW owners and lessees with promotions that include half-truths, misinformation, and downright deception.
If a disclosure is intended to inform consumers – and isn’t that pretty much the job description of a disclosure? – it should accomplish that task effectively. A “disclosure” that fails that fundamental test is no disclosure at all. That’s FTC 101. So what can be done to improve the testing and evaluation of disclosures? Leading academics and testing professionals will gather at the FTC on September 15, 2016, to explore that topic.
According to the Sinatra standard, "Love is lovelier the second time around.” But the same can’t be said when a car dealership that has already settled an FTC law enforcement action for deceptively advertising financing and leasing terms engages in further misrepresentations.
We’re not being overdramatic when we describe it as a business executive’s nightmare: a shadowy contact from a hacker who has infiltrated a company’s network, encrypted the data, and now demands ransom for a key to access the files.