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.
Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing Basics
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
It’s the time of year when some people are crooning “Baby, it’s cold outside.” Whether it’s winter or summer, proper insulation can keep things comfortable. But how are consumers supposed to make heads or tails of competing claims when buying insulation? That’s where the R-value Rule comes in.
Has it been a while since you touched base with clients about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides? Of course, you’ve shown them the three major take-away points in black and white:
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.
Why should the FTC’s consumer site matter to your business? It’s become a catchphrase, but it’s true: An educated consumer really is your best customer. When prospective buyers are empowered with information, satisfaction soars. And there’s another reason: You put in a long day on the job, but in your down time, you’re a consumer, too.
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.
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.
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:
There are lots of good reasons for infomercial marketers and other retailers to abide by truth-in-advertising principles. But for people who insist on a dollars-and-cents rationale, the Court-ordered $478 million price tag for violations related to national ads for money-making systems makes legal compliance look like a bargain.
Are you in the mobile app business? If so, you’re probably considering some important questions, like what to tell users about your app, what information to collect from users, and what to do with any information you collect. Whether you work for a tech giant or are striking out on your own with that gotta-have-it app, the same truth-in-advertising standards and basic privacy principles apply.
People who signed up with the Jacksonville-based Alcoholism Cure Corporation were promised a “scientifically proven” program that “cures alcoholism while allowing alcoholics to drink socially.” What they got was a shopping list, instructions to take handfuls of unproven supplements, and a particularly troubling surprise when they tried to cancel their membership.
Remember the character from the Superman comic books who was the exact opposite of the Man of Steel? He said no when he meant yes, his alter ego went by the name "Kent Clark," and was part of the Injustice League of America. It made for fun reading, but you wouldn’t want him crafting your ad claims.
Ask any golfer. How you address the ball matters, but don’t underestimate the importance of the follow-through. In law enforcement, too, follow-through can be key. A recent development in the FTC’s action involving Neil Wardle illustrates that point.
Unless you’re playing Scrabble and use QI or ZA on a triple letter square, two-letter words usually don’t count for much. A consumer perception study released by the FTC suggests that two common two-letter words often used in ads may not have the effect of qualifying product claims that some marketers and copywriters think they have. Any guess what those words are?