When scammers and hackers attack small businesses, it hurts not only the businesses’ reputations and bottom line, but also the integrity of the marketplace. Today, FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen announced a new FTC website, FTC.gov/SmallBusiness, to help business owners avoid scams, protect their computers and networks, and keep their customers’ and employees’ data safe.
Blog Posts Tagged with Appliances
The military community makes many of the same consumer decisions as their civilian counterparts. We all need to manage our money – and avoid rip-offs. But servicemembers and their families also face unique challenges, like frequent relocations and deployment. When a permanent change of station is on the horizon, a military family needs to rent or buy a new place to live, manage money while on the move, and be vigilant about dealing with businesses in an unfamiliar locale. A servicemember’s regular paycheck from Uncle Sam can make them a target for scammers.
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.
Energy-conscious – and budget-minded – consumers rely on those bright yellow EnergyGuide labels on appliances and the Lighting Facts box on light bulbs to help them comparison-shop. If your products are covered by the Energy Labeling Rule, the FTC has taken action on two fronts that you’ll want to follow.
Look at those lists of the most admired companies in America and what do you notice about them? Great products, for sure. But many also enjoy stellar reputations for service after the sale. When a buyer is confident you’ll stand by your product, you’ve probably created a customer for life. One measure of that is how you honor your obligations under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
When did a light bulb become the symbol of a good idea? We don’t know, but a ruling in the FTC’s lawsuit against Lights of America – including a $21 million order mandating refunds for consumers and some bookmark-worthy notable quotes from the Court – should serve as a light bulb moment for marketers.
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.
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 proc
Earlier this year, the FTC settled five law enforcement actions against companies making allegedly deceptive energy savings claims for their replacement windows. Now the FTC has sent letters to 14 window manufacturers and one window glass manufacturer, warning that they may be making unsupported energy savings representations for their products.
A tank top and cut-offs are perfect for a balmy day in Boca Raton, just as a down parka and fuzzy mittens will ward off the shivers in Sheboygan. That's the idea behind the Department of Energy’s new regional efficiency standards for heating and cooling equipment. Unlike earlier DOE regs, which mandated uniform energy efficiency levels, the new standards for residential furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps vary by region. That way, consumers will have the information they need to make a choice suited to their locale.
It’s helpful when advertisers can get a window into the FTC’s thinking about certain ad claims — and five recent settlements with companies that sell replacement windows offer just that.
According to the FTC, the businesses made exaggerated and unsupported representations about the energy efficiency of their windows, and about how much money people could save on their heating and cooling bills by having them installed. What did the ads say? Things like:
If you’re in the textile industry or sell home HVAC equipment (and especially if you’re in the textile industry and sell HVAC equipment, in which case we’re dying to know what your store looks like), you’ll want to jot down some important dates from the FTC.
In celebration of Halloween — and with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe — here’s our take on what companies can do to make sure spooky business practices don’t come back to haunt them.
Once upon a midnight lawful
Pondering practices, good and awful,
Reading through the U.S. Code
For dos and don’ts I parse and claw.
I came upon the Trade Commission’s
Section 5 with all revisions.
Like Maria in The Sound of Music, brown paper packages tied up with strings are a few of our favorite things. So it's no surprise that catalog and online shopping has become a time saving essential for millions of Americans.
These days many shoppers wouldn’t think of buying a product without checking if it comes with a written warranty. And companies in it for the long haul understand the importance of living up to their promises if something goes kablooey. But that wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until 1975 — when Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act — that federal teeth were added to consumer warranty protections.
Savvy executives like to stay in the loop on FTC activities that could affect their industry. They make it a habit to scan the headlines or check for relevant workshops or reports. But there’s a third category of information a bit less understood: closing letters from BCP staff.
In the spirit of transparency, the agency posts them online. Here in the BCP Business Center, recent letters appear in the Compliance Documents section of each topic area.
A fax comes through at the office looking like it’s a form to re-up your existing phone directory listing. It includes information about your business, a “Yellow Page ID number,” and a familiar “walking fingers” logo. The fax, not addressed to any particular person or department in your company, instructs the recipient to sign and send the form back by an impending deadline. Buried in fine print is the only indication the fax is really a solicitation for new business.
Say “spam” and most business executives think of annoying messages that litter their IN box. But the CAN-SPAM Act and the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Rule cover a much broader range of commercial email. Yes, that includes messages offering to split $50 million languishing in the foreign bank account of a deposed prince. But the Rule also applies to a wide variety of communications with customers or potential customers — for example, an email notifying them about a product you’re featuring or an upcoming sale.
Is your briefcase feeling lighter? That’s because your dog-eared copy of Volume 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations (where most FTC rules and guides live) is decidedly thinner these days. For the past two decades, the agency has undertaken a systematic review of its rules and guides to make sure they’re up to date, effective, and not overly burdensome. As each rule comes up for review, we ask ourselves — and you — four questions: