The FTC’s law enforcement action against Amazon for unauthorized billing recently settled, leaving two key takeaways: 1) Consumers are eligible for more than $70 million in refunds; and 2) Businesses need to get customers’ express consent before placing charges on their credit or debit cards.
Blog Posts Tagged with Children
In Amazon’s Appstore, many apps geared toward kids prompted them to use fictitious currency, like a “boatload of doughnuts” or a “can of stars,” as part of game play. But a federal district court recently agreed with the FTC that Amazon’s practice of charging cold, hard cash for those imaginary items and billing parents and account holders without their express informed consent violates Section 5 of the FTC Act.
A chocolate cake that causes weight loss? A recliner that tones your abs while you watch TV? They’re in our pantheon of products we’d buy in a second. Here’s something to add to that list: a videogame scientifically proven to help kids focus, enhance memory, boost attention, and improve behavior and school performance. That’s what Focus Education promised in infomercials and other ads for its ifocus System Jungle Rangers videogame.
Silence may be golden, but not for the parents of kids with speech disorders. Illinois-based NourishLife marketed two dietary supplements, Speak and Speak Smooth, advertised as the answer for kids with a broad range of speech disorders, including those associated with autism. But the FTC says the company’s claims were long on talk and short on scientific substantiation.
Parents want to make the best choices for their babies’ health. But between diaper changes and 2 AM feedings, they aren’t in a position to spend much time surveying the scientific literature for ways to reduce the chance their kid will develop the allergies they suffer from. So when Gerber (also doing business as Nestle Nutrition) advertised Good Start Gentle baby formula as a way to “reduce the risk of developing allergies” – and featured a gold seal on products suggesting FDA approval – it’s understandable that parents would take note.
A. This company just settled a case with the FTC for Do Not Call violations and deceptive promises that its purported educational products would improve kids’ grades and standardized test scores.
Q. What is WordSmart?
The polar bears and penguins sold within kids’ apps offered in the Google Play Store may have been virtual, but the unauthorized charges Moms and Dads got stuck with were all too real. A proposed FTC settlement will refund at least $19 million to parents whose accounts were charged illegally, according to the complaint, and will implement enforceable changes in how Google handles in-app purchases. Of course, the order applies just to Google, but the case of
With a product name like “Your Baby Can Read!” – exclamation point in the original – it didn’t take long for consumers to figure out what the marketers were promising. The company’s massive ad campaign featured 14-month-olds mastering vocabulary flashcards, two-year-olds reading books, and an array of charts, graphs, and studies purporting to show that Your Baby Can Read! was scientifically proven to work.
For some athletes and fans, September is the equivalent of the start of the sports “new year.” From the FTC’s perspective, it’s a good time to remind retailers that they need appropriate proof to support concussion protection claims for athletic mouthguards. That’s why FTC staff has sent letters to five major retailers, alerting them to concerns about what they’re promising on their websites.
Dare us to describe the legal ramifications of a recent advertising settlement involving health claims in the style of a cringeworthy rap from 1990? Cue up the bass line ‘cause here we go.
Update (3/27/14): Apple will notify people about how to get refunds by April 15. The settlement requires Apple to provide full refunds for in-app charges made by kids without parental permission.
If you want to know which flix’s tix made for major boffola at the box office, you’ll have to consult the entertainment trade press. But a recent FTC “mystery shopper” survey offers other insights for your clients in the movie, music, or videogame industry.
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
No one is going to amend the nursery rhyme, but if you market products aimed at fighting bed bugs or head lice and are itching to keep your promotions in line with the law, two FTC lawsuits merit your attention. Even if bugs aren’t your bag, the cases are a reminder of the need to back up your claims with solid science.
Tell people your baby is adorable and no doubt you have the photos to back it up. But market a product called “Your Baby Can Read!” and you better have real proof. According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, ads for the “Your Baby Can Read!” program made false and deceptive claims that the product could teach infants and toddlers to read.
As back-to-school time approaches, children may be thinking about meeting up with friends to share stories about their summer adventures. But when it comes to personal information, parents and kids need to be careful about sharing too much. These days the casual use of sensitive data (like a Social Security number on a registration form, permission slip, or health document) can lead to child identity theft, a serious crime that impacts thousands of kids each year. Parents can take steps to protect their children from ID theft — and your business can help by sharing free FTC resources in
Whether you’re a full-pads athlete or a quarterback of the Monday morning variety, you’ve read reports about sports-related concussions. But before marketing a product advertised to reduce the risk of those injuries, businesses should take a careful look at the FTC’s settlement with Pennsylvania-based Brain-Pad, Inc.
Does the IRS have a Form 1039? Do drivers ever get their kicks on Route 67? And does 3.14158 ever feel unappreciated because pi gets all the attention?
Most attorneys and business executives are familiar with Section 5 of the FTC Act, which outlaws unfair or deceptive trade practices. But Section 6 also plays a critical role in protecting consumers. Specifically, Section 6(b) authorizes the FTC to get information from companies — “special reports” — about certain aspects of their business.
Are there hotter topics these days than data security and kids’ privacy? An FTC law enforcement settlement with the social networking site RockYou ticks both of those topical boxes and challenges a course of conduct the FTC says made it easier for hackers to access the personal information of 32 million users. The complaint also alleges the company collected info from kids in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
For some, a discussion of childhood and technology brings back fond memories of Easy Bake Ovens and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. But like their parents, these kids today (Didn’t we swear we’d never use the phrase "these kids today"?) are embracing the opportunities presented by smartphones, tablets, and the burgeoning app market. But what about the privacy considerations when children and teens use apps?