Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing

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Surely you Jesta: Jamster jammed for mobile cramming

You thought Angry Birds get peeved at those annoying green pigs?  That's nothing compared to consumers’ reaction when they found unauthorized charges “crammed” onto their cell phone bills for phony virus scans that showed up when they played Angry Birds on their Android devices.  To settle an FTC lawsuit, Jesta Digital LLC — you may know them as Jamster — will give refunds to a significant number of consumers, pay an additional $1.2 million, and change the way they do business.

FTC and Colorado AG: Infomercial pitchman's promissory promises not premised on truth

According to the ubiquitous infomercials, to rake in the big bucks with Russell Dalbey’s “wealth-building” programs, all you had to do was “Find ‘Em,” “List ‘Em,” and “Make Money" — the “‘Em” being seller-financed promissory notes.  The pitch was convincing to the close to one million people who bought the programs.  But according to the FTC and Colorado AG, the defendants’ claims of quick and easy money were deceptive.

Itchy and Scratchy

Two things that bug us:  1) head lice, bed bugs, and other creepy crawlies that score off the charts on the eeww-ometer; and 2) companies that make deceptive claims that their products can treat and prevent infestations.  Settlements the FTC just announced with the marketers of the BEST Yet! line of cedar oil-based products reminds companies of the importance of backing up claims with sound science.

FTC's record-setting Do Not Call settlement: 4 tips for business and one candid suggestion

Yesterday’s 10th anniversary of the National Do Not Call Registry was a good time to reflect on a decade of progress.  But to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson (or Patrick Henry, Irish statesman John Philpot Curran, or whoever else said it), eternal vigilance is the price of an uninterrupted dinner hour.  A record-setting $7.5 million settlement with a national mortgage broker demonstrates the FTC’s commitment to the fight against

10 years of National Do Not Call: Looking back and looking ahead

To etiquette purists, the 10th anniversary dictates gifts of metal.  So to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the National Do Not Call Registry, the FTC presents this iron-clad guarantee:  You can count on us to continue to take action against companies that violate the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as today’s $7.5 million civil penalty — the largest ever collected in an FTC Do Not Call case — demonstrates.

FTC staff to search engines: Differentiate ads from natural results

When users type something into a search engine and hit enter, what shows up on the screen next?  Is it the natural result of their search or is it advertising?  If they get natural results and ads, is it clear to consumers which is which?  Following up on efforts to update guidance to digital advertisers, including revisions to .com Disclosures and the

Telemarketing violations? Court ruling suggests distance, not assistance

The Telemarketing Sales Rule outlaws a variety of deceptive practices.  But liability isn’t limited just to the companies that place the calls or the marketers that hire them.  It’s also illegal to “provide substantial assistance or support” to a seller or telemarketer when you know or consciously avoid knowing they’re violating the Rule.  A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit unpacks that portion of the

Last resort

Three FTC cases, 83 civil actions brought by 28 states, more than 184 defendants facing criminal charges in cases filed by federal and local prosecutors, and 25 actions brought by agencies in 10 other countries.  If you’re unclear on whether law enforcers are presenting a united front against travel-related fraud, then we have some oceanfront property to sell you.

Calling for comments about proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule

We’re not one to loft accolades in the direction of fraudulent telemarketers, but we’ll say this about them:  They’re a quick study when it comes to using new technologies and business methods to their shady advantage.  As part of its ongoing effort to protect consumers from deceptive telemarketing, the FTC is proposing amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that would curtail the use of certain kinds of payments that have become fast favorites among fraudsters.

Assist-sense: Insights on liability under the Telemarketing Sales Rule

Lending a helping hand is great when you’re talking about a barn raising, a rent party, or assisting a little old lady across the street.  But when the activity in question is, well, questionable — like selling businesses technology that can be used to place illegal robocalls — companies need to make sure they’re not assisting and facilitating violations of the law.  That’s one message your clients should take from the FTC’s settlement with Skyy Consulting, which also does business under the name CallFire.

Calling all cards

We’ve been saying it for years:  “What the headline giveth, the footnote cannot taketh away.”  The same holds true for the dense block of text, the hidden-away reverse side, the vague hyperlink, or any other place the FTC has warned advertisers may not meet the standard for “clear and conspicuous” disclosure.  A recent settlement involving long distance phone cards emphasizes what’s not so fine about fine print.

Fraud harms 25.6 million people: Anyone you know?

The FTC is always working to know more about the types of fraud being committed and who spends money on them.  Periodically, we survey consumers and ask them to share details about their recent marketplace experiences and a bit about themselves.  Our most recent survey found that nearly 11% of U.S. adults — an estimated 25.6 million people — paid for fraudulent products and services in 2011.

Fair? Enough!

Fair Guide.  Is it a list of consumer protection laws?  With summer coming, maybe ratings of the best funnel cakes and Ferris wheels?  Forgive the flight of fancy, but we see it as a great title for a compendium of blog posts about business compliance.  But that’s not what it is — not by a longshot.

Building your VOCabulary

The FTC just accepted final settlements with two of the largest paint manufacturers in the country — Sherwin-Williams and PPG Architectural Finishes.  The complaints charged that the companies made deceptive “zero VOC” claims for their Dutch Boy Refresh and Pure Performance brands.  But along with the settlements, the FTC issued an Enforcement Policy Statement that's a must-read if you're thinking about making similar claims and want to comply with

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