Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing

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It's National Consumer Protection Week

This is National Consumer Protection Week, and it’s the biggest and best NCPW in 15 years.  Thanks to 64 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits that are putting the spotlight on the critical consumer protection work they do year-round, consumers have easy access to a tremendous variety of timely, useful information about recognizing and reporting frauds and scams, managing credit and debt, using technology, and staying healthy and safe.

Here Comes Money Boo Boo

No, not the cherubic child star on reality TV.  We’re talking about the serious repercussions of American Tax Relief's misleading claims about substantially reducing what consumers owed in taxes — and major mistakes some businesses make when it comes to the financial consequences of deception.  A look at the settlement offers insights into the breadth of remedies available for violations of the FTC Act and related rules.

5 top-level takeaways from the FTC staff report on mobile privacy disclosures

To Rat Pack types, "Just in Time" was a swingin' tune Dean Martin sang in the old musical "Bells Are Ringing."  It's still relevant to ringing bells, but now it's in the context of smartphones, tablets — and one of several suggestions the FTC is making to mobile platforms, app developers, ad networks, and others about how and when to disclose key privacy-related information to consumers.  Are you plugged in to what this could mean for your business?

FTC Path case helps app developers stay on the right, er, path

In the few years it’s been up and running, Path has billed itself as a different kind of social network.  According to a description of its "Values," "Path should be private by default.  Forever.  You should always be in control of your information and experience."  It’s a lovely sentiment.  Except that according to an FTC law enforcement action, it wasn’t private by default.  It wasn’t private forever.  Users weren’t in control of their information and experience.  And let’s not forget the alleged violation of the Children’s Online Pr

Room for improve-mint

The Hobby Protection Act is something of a misnomer.  Most hobbies don’t need much by way of protection.  But if you or your clients are involved in the sale of coins or certain collectibles, it’s a law you need to know about.  The FTC’s settlement with the National Collector’s Mint and Avram C. Freedberg alleges violations of the Hobby Protection Act — and also raises interesting issues about how the company’s automated ordering system compounded other deceptive practices challenged in the case.

Scammers target businesses with fake emails

A favorite trick for rip-off artists is to pretend to represent a trustworthy and respected organization. Today — and we mean that literally — we’re hearing from businesses that have received email exploiting the good name of the Federal Trade Commission.  We don’t want you to lose money or valuable information to a scam artist sending a phony message claiming you’re a target of the FTC.

Ready, willing, and label

Two of a kind can be a good thing in a card game, but it’s not so great when you’re filing energy data with government agencies.  For manufacturers weary of sending the same information to both the FTC and the Department of Energy, here’s some good news.  Now, energy data filers can do some one-stop shopping by submitting their required reports to a single place:  the Department of Energy’s new online database, known as the Compliance Certification Management System (CCMS).  The FTC has announced this streamlined reporting proce

Bamboo snafu

Bamboo:  It’s not just for tiki huts anymore.  Consumers are seeing more items, especially clothing and textiles, labeled or advertised as “bamboo.”  But according to FTC lawsuits, Amazon.com, Leon Max, Macy’s, and Sears claimed that products were made of bamboo when they were really made of rayon.  In addition, some bamboo wannabes were promoted as environmentally friendly.  But manufacturing rayon — even when it’s made from bamboo — is far from a “green” process.

FTC's settlement with Google: In brief

Not too long ago, talking on the phone, listening to music, and playing games required three clunky pieces of equipment.  Manage that wirelessly?  Fuhgeddaboutit.  But now we can do all that — and more — with a device smaller than a chocolate bar.  That took phenomenal feats of technology.  But it also took some ground rules to make sure companies had incentives to innovate and consumers could be assured what they bought would work glitch-free with other products.  Benefiting consumers by encouraging that kind of innovation is what the F

Cooling-Off heats up

Say “Cooling-Off Rule” and most people (OK, most people over a certain age) think of the classic door-to-door salesman — although the scope of the Rule is broader than that.  After listening to comments about the future of the Cooling-Off Rule, the FTC has decided to keep it in place, but is asking for your feedback about one important proposed change.

Masquer-aid?

Usually we lay out the facts of a case and then summarize what we see as the take-away tips for business.  But this time we’re switching things up.  Here are the two bottom-line messages from the FTC’s ongoing action against The Cuban Exchange:  It’s a Bad Idea to use robocalls to impersonate familiar groups in an effort to trick people into turning over their bank account info and other sensitive data.  And it’s a Really Bad Idea when the group you impersonate is the Federal Trade Commission.

Survey says: What FTC follow-up report on kids' apps means for your business

Next time you’re in a long line at the grocery store, watch how parents distract a kid who's feeling cranky.  They used to jangle keys or offer a favorite toy.  But now a lot of Moms and Dads hand them a smartphone with an app designed for children.  As the kids' app market continues to grow, FTC staff issued a report detailing survey results showing that neither app stores nor app developers were giving parents the information they need to figure out what data is being collected from their kids, how it’s shared, and who has access to it.  The report recommended that members of the app indu

Sporting goods companies: Guard against deception

Some sports fans spend Saturdays on the field.  For the rest of us, raising a Big Foam Finger is exertion enough.  But we’ve all read stories about the dangers that head injuries pose to participants in contact sports.  That’s why the FTC is continuing to raise concerns about possibly unsubstantiated claims for products advertised to reduce the risk of sports concussions.

The last resort

When it comes to making hotel reservations, some consumers aren’t feeling very hospitable about drip pricing — the practice of advertising only part of the price and then revealing other charges later as the customer goes through the buying process.  That’s why FTC staff sent out 22 warning letters to companies raising concerns about the practice.

Enforceable Codes of Conduct: Protecting Consumers Across Borders

Business has gone global, but how should consumers be protected when transactions cross borders?  The FTC is hosting a forum on Thursday, November 29, 2012, to talk about the role of enforceable industry codes of conduct to protect consumers in cross-border commerce.  What’s on the agenda?  Systems where government entities, businesses, consumer groups, and others develop and administer voluntary procedures that govern areas outside of traditional government oversight.

Calling for back-up

Everybody needs a wingman — somebody there just in case you need back-up.  When it comes to explaining the consumer protection basics of mobile apps to client and colleagues, you’ve got a wingman at the ready.

It’s called Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right From the Start.  It’s a to-the-point brochure from the FTC outlining fundamental truth-in-advertising and privacy principles for app developers.  The brochures focuses on time-tested tips like:

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