FTC Blogs

It’s illegal to ban honest reviews

Congress unanimously passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act to protect people’s ability to share in any forum their honest opinions about a business’ products, services, or conduct. Some companies had been using contract provisions – including their online terms and conditions – to threaten to sue consumers or penalize them financially for posting negative reviews or complaints. The new law makes that illegal.

Background checks? Don’t double-dip.

Need to verify an applicant's employment or income history? Checking to see if a candidate has a criminal history or civil judgments?

If you get information from a company that compiles it so you can make eligibility determinations, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That means no double-dipping. If you get a consumer report for one purpose, don’t use it for a different purpose.

Scam money runners

When you hear about people getting scammed into wiring money, do you ever wonder who’s picking the money up on the other end? In the case of people scammed by certain call centers in India, the answer was employees of PHLG Enterprises.  

Don’t make an R-value claim if you can’t support it

An ongoing FTC case is a reminder to businesses — If you make product claims based on scientific testing, you must have valid proof to back up those claims.

Case in point: Last fall, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Innovative Designs, Inc. (IDI) over allegations that the company violated the FTC Act by making false and unsubstantiated claims about its house wrap products.

Keeping track of your magazine subscriptions

I enjoy reading magazines related to my hobbies, for trends and inspiration. But sometimes I get overwhelmed by renewal notices. Keeping track of the expiration dates for my magazine subscriptions can get confusing, especially when I get multiple renewal notices for the same publication. Sound familiar? Well, here are a few tips to help keep track of magazine subscriptions.

What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen

Consumers have bought more than 11 million internet-connected Vizio televisions since 2010. But according to a complaint filed by the FTC and the New Jersey Attorney General, consumers didn’t know that while they were watching their TVs, Vizio was watching them. The lawsuit challenges the company’s tracking practices and offers insights into how established consumer protection principles apply to smart technology.

VIZIO Settlement: Smart TVs should not track your shows without your O.K.

For decades, only you knew the television programs you watched from your living room. That’s starting to change. The FTC recently explored this at its Smart TV workshop. The data generated when you watch television can reveal a lot about you and your household. So, before a company pulls up a chair next to you and starts taking careful notes on everything you watch (and then shares it with its partners), it should ask if that’s O.K. with you. VIZIO wasn’t doing that, and the FTC stepped in.