FTC Blogs

Answering your questions about endorsements

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.

Double dog dare: Read FTC staff’s new report on pet medications competition

FTC staff has doggedly tracked down information about competition in the pet medications industry for the past several years. Why? Because it’s a large and growing consumer market. With 65 percent of American households owning a pet, and retail sales of prescription pet medications expected to top $10 billion by 2018, it is clearly a market where competition could benefit consumers. Most consumers pay for pet meds out-of-pocket and do not have pet health insurance that covers these expenses.

Your best bet for pet meds

Americans love their pets – 65% of households have one. But when Fido or Felix gets sick, most pet owners end up paying out-of-pocket for medications, and few people have pet health insurance that covers this expense. This is an important economic issue for consumers, so the FTC hosted a public workshop and gathered information about the sale of pet medications. Here are some of the findings.

An unlikely commencement address

It’s graduation season. How’s this for a truthful take on the usual oratory?

Esteemed guests and distinguished graduates, despite what we said in our ads, many of you just got a degree or diploma that won’t qualify you to get the licenses you need to land a job in your field. And don’t count on your credits transferring to four-year colleges. But thanks for the thousands of dollars you paid out of your own pocket!

Lessons learned

Getting a professional certification or earning your degree can help move your career to the next level. But some for-profit schools promise a lot more than they can deliver, leaving you on the hook to pay for schooling but not qualified to do the job you paid to train for. To stop those unsupported – and sometimes outright false – promises, the FTC brought charges against Professional Career Development Institute. You may know them as Ashworth College. The FTC announced today that Ashworth settled the FTC’s charges that they misrepresented what their programs could do for students.

Sham charities inflate gift-in-kind numbers to deceive donors

Charities rely on generous donations – cash and gifts-in-kind – to help people in your community, across the country, and around the world. Gifts-in-kind are non-cash donations – things like food, clothing, equipment and medical supplies. Normally, charities give those gifts directly to people in need, or to other charities for redistribution. But a recent complaint against four sham charities by the FTC and law enforcement partners in every state and the District of Columbia shows that’s not always what happens.

Enhancing permissions through contextual integrity

This is the third post in my series on privacy and security in mobile computing, which builds on the Commission’s 2013 mobile security workshop. In my last post, I concluded that – despite a history of usability concerns – permissions in mobile operating systems are clearly an improvement over the opacity of traditional operating systems.

Shutting down a sweepstakes scam that sought out seniors

In the past few years, you’ve heard warnings from us about different scams that offered prizes like money, jewelry, or vacations – all in exchange for a fee. And we’ve heard from you to the tune of more than a quarter of a million complaints about prize and sweepstakes scams in the last three years. Thanks in part to those complaints, today the FTC put a stop to a sweepstakes scam targeting older people.

3 dos, 3 don’ts, and 1 don’t-even-think-about-it

It’s a text that would make most people take notice: ALERT ALERT ALERT .. YOUR PAYMENT WAS DECLINED DUE TO AN INSUFFICIENT ACH TRANSACTION…CALL 866.597.3075. But it wasn’t really an alert. There wasn’t a declined payment. And an “insufficient ACH transaction” isn’t even a real thing.

It was a deceptive text message sent by debt collectors to illegally lure purported debtors into contacting them.