Not many kids play with yo-yos these days, but an FTC complaint against nine related Los Angeles-area car dealers charges that the companies engaged in (among other things) illegal yo-yo financing practices – and for affected consumers, it was no game. Even if you don’t have clients in the auto industry, this case merits your attention.
Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing Basics
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. That’s what consumers who signed up for NutraClick’s “free” samples learned. But what can your business take away from the FTC’s settlement with NutraClick? If your company is considering offering a negative option program, and wants it to be a positive experience, you’ll want to read on.
There’s an upcoming gotta-be-there trade show for your industry. Your company gets a form in the mail from a P.O. box in the Chicago area asking to confirm your address for a trade show listing. You or a staffer signs without giving it a second thought – until you get the surprise of a lifetime.
Well, that didn’t take long.
The details of the historic $10 billion Volkswagen “clean diesel” settlement are still being finalized – and as we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re already hearing reports of dealers targeting VW owners and lessees with promotions that include half-truths, misinformation, and downright deception.
If a disclosure is intended to inform consumers – and isn’t that pretty much the job description of a disclosure? – it should accomplish that task effectively. A “disclosure” that fails that fundamental test is no disclosure at all. That’s FTC 101. So what can be done to improve the testing and evaluation of disclosures? Leading academics and testing professionals will gather at the FTC on September 15, 2016, to explore that topic.
“It says it’s organic, but just what does that mean?” That’s a question a lot of consumers ask themselves when shopping for non-agricultural items like personal care products – and it will be the topic of discussion at an October 20, 2016, roundtable in Washington, DC.
The FTC’s recent action against Volkswagen focused on the company’s “clean diesel” claims, which were rendered false by VW’s installation of a defeat device that cheated on emissions tests. The history-making $10 billion settlement will offer eligible car owners choices to compensate them for the deception.
“It’s a dog’s life,” they say – and according to Mars Petcare, its Eukanuba brand of dog food could extend dogs’ lives by 30%. But the FTC alleges that Mars made misleading representations about the products’ life-extending benefits and falsely claimed that scientific tests supported what the company said.
The FTC’s lawsuit against Gary Kieper and Partners in Health Care Association (PIHC) alleged that the defendants deceptively peddled medical discount cards in the guise of health insurance. “Medical discount cards? Not my line,” you might say. But don’t discount the foundational legal principles articulated in the Court’s Order granting the FTC’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
Multi-level marketer Herbalife will pay $200 million back to people who were taken in by what the FTC alleges were misleading moneymaking claims. But when it comes to protecting consumers, that may not be the most important part of the just-announced settlement. What could matter more than $200 million? An order that requires Herbalife to restructure its business from top to bottom – and to start complying with the law.
The Internet of Things refers to consumer products that connect to the Internet to send and receive data – everything from fitness devices, wearables, and smart cars to connected smoke detectors, light bulbs, and refrigerators.
Recently, the FTC sent hundreds of thousands of refund checks to people who bought the book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About by pitchman Kevin Trudeau. Court decisions have established there wasn’t much truth in Mr. Trudeau’s advertising claims, but the story behind the law enforcement actions underscores one fundamental truth: the FTC’s commitment to effective order enforcement.
If you’d like details about how the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act was amended to recalculate penalties using a formula based on the percentage by which the Department of Labor’s October 2015 Consumer Price Index exceeds the Index for October in the year in which the penalty was enacted or last adjusted by law, the FTC has issued a Federal Register Notice explaining it.
The FTC just announced a partial settlement with Volkswagen Group of America that will return as much as $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars. As the largest false advertising case in FTC history, it’s a record-breaking win for consumers – and it’s in keeping with the law-breaking nature of the deception the FTC alleged in its lawsuit against VW.
Spoiler alert: If the villains in a thriller appear to be vanquished with 20 minutes left in the movie, you can bet they’ll make a dramatic reappearance. A case filed by the FTC targets a B2B tactic that small businesses started seeing years ago, but – to quote Poltergeist II – “They’re ba-ack.” And the defendants in the sequel have added what the FTC says is a bogus imposter angle.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The Italian Job. The Lords of the Rings. The quest for gold is a common theme in action films. But for many consumers who sent money to Encino, California-based Discount Gold Brokers, a lawsuit filed by the FTC alleges that the adventure has turned into a horror movie.
If your business regularly makes wire transfer payments, it could be the next target of a fast-growing scam in which cybercriminals trick employees into transferring large sums of money to them by impersonating CEOs and other company executives in spoofed emails.
Seeing is believing. And last week, the FTC reminded eye doctors – in writing – about their legal responsibilities under the agency’s Eyeglass Rule. The rule requires you to provide a copy of the prescription to the patient at the end of the eye exam, even if the patient doesn’t request it. You should also not ask patients if they want their prescription. The prescription should be given to them automatically.
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.
Everyone has a job hunting horror story. Ours is the rejection letter we got on a Friday for a job interview scheduled for the following Monday. But a job interview that’s really just a sales pitch, often conducted by software designed to mimic a real person? A lawsuit against Gigats is the latest FTC action targeting deceptive practices in the lead generation industry.