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FTC Settles with Beauty Brand Over False “Organic” and “Vegan” Claims

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a $1.76 million settlement with Truly Organic, Inc. and its CEO over allegations that the company’s personal care products advertised as “100% organic” were anything but. According to the FTC’s complaint, since at least 2015, the company advertised a range of personal care products including body washes, … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Warning Letters to Three CBD Companies

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) sent warning letters to three companies that sell cannabidiol (“CBD”) products regarding the health claims found in the companies’ advertisements. The companies sold a variety of products containing CBD, including oils, tinctures, capsules, creams, and “gummies.” Each company claimed that its CBD products can prevent, treat, or cure … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Two More Actions Enforcing The Consumer Review Fairness Act

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced two new actions under the Consumer Review Fairness Act (“CRFA”) against companies that allegedly used non-disparagement provisions in consumer “form contracts” in connection with their respective services to rent properties. These two actions follow the FTC’s inaugural CRFA actions against three companies last month, which we previously … Continue Reading

FTC Continues Enforcement Against Deceptive “Free” Trials and Negative Option Plans

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlements with operators of a worldwide negative option scam, in which online marketers deceptively advertised “risk free” trial offers of its products, but charged consumers full price for the trial products and automatically enrolled them in negative-option continuity plans without their knowledge or consent. As we previously … Continue Reading

FTC and Law Enforcement Partners Join Forces To Wring Out Illegal Robocalls

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and its law enforcement partners announced their joint crackdown on illegal robocalls entitled, “Operation Call it Quits.” The operation is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to stop the “universally loathed pre-recorded telemarking calls.” “Operation Call it Quits” includes 94 enforcement actions targeting operations around the country that … Continue Reading

Vaping Companies Take a Hit From The FTC and FDA Over Social Media Endorsements

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued joint warning letters to four companies that market flavored e-liquid (vaping) products. The letters cite postings by influencers on social media sites endorsing the companies’ products and state that the influencers’ posts failed to include a required nicotine … Continue Reading

FTC Seeks Public Comments to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced it is seeking public comment on the effectiveness of amendments made by the agency in 2013 to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (“COPPA”) Rule, and whether additional changes are needed. In connection with this initiative, the FTC will hold a public workshop on October 7, 2019. COPPA … Continue Reading

FTC Announces First Actions Enforcing The Consumer Review Fairness Act

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued three separate proposed administrative complaints and orders enforcing the Consumer Review Fairness Act (“CRFA”) – the first enforcement actions since the CRFA went into effect in March 2017. The CRFA prohibits businesses from using “form contract” provisions that bar consumers from writing or posting negative reviews online, … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Case For $25 Million With Dietary Supplement Sellers Over Cognitive Claims

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled charges against 12 companies who deceptively marketed “cognitive improvement” supplements by using sham news websites containing false and unsubstantiated efficacy claims, referencing non-existent clinical studies, and advertising fraudulent consumer and celebrity endorsements. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants falsely claimed that their dietary supplements could enhance … Continue Reading

iSpring Water Settles Case With FTC For “Made In The USA” Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it reached a settlement with iSpring Water Systems, LLC for allegedly making false claims that its wholly imported Chinese water filtration systems were made in the U.S.A – in violation of a 2017 FTC consent order. In 2017, the company made certain claims that its water filtration systems … Continue Reading

New York AG Declares War on Fake Followers, Likes, and Online Deception

Earlier this year, the New York Attorney General reached a “precedent-setting” settlement with Devumi LLC, a third-party website, over its sale of fake followers, “likes,” and views to customers on all major social media platforms. Devumi utilized computer-operated “bot” accounts and “sock-puppet accounts” (where an online user pretends to be one or many other people) … Continue Reading

The FTC “Intravenes:” Final Consent Order Approved Against iV Cocktails

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a final consent order settling deceptive advertising charges against A&O Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a iV Bars regarding deceptive and unsupported health claims that iV Bars’ intravenously injected therapy products, or “iV Cocktails,” can safely and effectively prevent and treat such serious diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular … Continue Reading

The FTC Takes a Bite out of Free Trials and Incentivized Reviews

This month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a settlement with San Francisco-based food delivery service UrthBox, Inc. and its principal, Behnam Behrouzi, regarding the company’s failure to adequately disclose key terms of its “free trial” automatic renewal programs and its misrepresentation of customer reviews. According to the FTC’s complaint, from October 2016 to November … Continue Reading

2019 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contracts MOAs Breathe New Life into Decades-Old Contract

The Joint Policy Committee, LLC (“JPC”) reached an agreement with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (“SAG-AFTRA”) on the 2019 Commercials Contract and Audio Commercials Contract on April 2, 2019. The deal, led by Reed Smith partner and Chief Negotiator, Stacy Marcus, now moves into its next stages and will be … Continue Reading

Reed Smith to Lead the ANA’s newly formed, Trust Consortium

On March 19, 2019 the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) launched the Trust Consortium. A copy of the press release can be found here. The ANA Trust Consortium is an alliance among ANA members and their partners and a voice for brands on transparency, measurement, auditing, digital fraud, brand safety, and more through ongoing reporting … Continue Reading

FTC Continues Enforcement Actions To Stop Deceptive Free-Trial And Negative Option Schemes

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently filed another case in a series of recent enforcement actions targeting allegedly deceptive online “free-trial” offers that tricked consumers into enrolling in negative option plans. The FTC charged Gopalkrishna Pai and eight (8) companies he owns and operates as a common enterprise with violating the FTC Act and the … Continue Reading

FTC Stops Fake Job Opportunity And Resume Repair Operation

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently charged two companies, Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC and PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com and their owner Craig Chrest with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from consumers for fake job placement and resume repair services. At the FTC’s request … Continue Reading

NAD Refers Advertising Claims Made By Mattress Maker To FTC

The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (“NAD”), the investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, recently referred advertising claims made by Nectar Sleep, LLC for its Nectar Mattress to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) after Nectar Sleep failed to respond to the NAD’s request to provide substantiation for its claims. … Continue Reading

Join Reed Smith at the 2019 ANA Advertising Law & Public Policy Conference

On March 19-20, 2019, the Association of National Advertisers will be holding its annual Advertising Law & Public Policy Conference. This year’s conference will feature the best legal minds in the business and top regulators at the federal and state level who will be providing best practices, strategies, and tactics to counteract the current state … Continue Reading

Denver Club “Stripped” Carmen Electra and Others of Compensation, Suit Says

Carmen Electra, joined by models Dessie Mitcheson and Lucy Pinder, sued a Colorado strip club over the club’s allegedly unauthorized use of its photographs on its website and social media in late January of this year. The aggrieved trio claims that the Denver club “Shotgun Willie’s” posted photos of the models in online advertisements for … Continue Reading

“Fiji Water Girl” Made Waves But Got Soaked, Alleges New Lawsuit

Model and meme icon Kelleth Cuthbert (real name Kelly Steinbach) became an overnight sensation as “Fiji Water Girl” after photobombing celebrities on the Golden Globes red carpet in January. Now, she is seeking to recover against Fiji Water Company and its parent company, The Wonderful Company, for allegedly misappropriating her likeness and violating her right … Continue Reading

Model Misbehavior? Gigi Hadid Faces Copyright Suit Over Instagram Post

Gigi Hadid found herself sued for copyright infringement by New York photo agency Xclusive-Lee, Inc. over a photo the fashion model posted to her Instagram account. The disputed photo was of Hadid herself, smiling at the camera while wearing a blue denim jacket and matching shorts with silver heels, and was snapped by paparazzi. Xclusive-Lee … Continue Reading

Webinar: What You Need to Know About Auto-Renewal Provisions in 2019

Jillian Petrera and Bretta Oluyede will be speaking on Tuesday, March 12th to the Association of National Advertisers. The free one-hour webinar, titled “What You Need to Know About Auto-Renewal Provisions in 2019” will explore the legal requirements for utilizing automatic renewals under the patchwork of federal and state laws and provide you with tools to mitigate … Continue Reading

Federal Court Tosses False Advertising Suit Against Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water

A California federal court granted Trader Joe’s motion to dismiss a false advertising lawsuit with regards to Trader Joe’s alkaline water, finding that all but one of plaintiff’s claims were non-actionable puffery, and granting plaintiff leave to amend the single remaining claim. Plaintiff alleged that Trader Joe’s alkaline water product labelling, which included numerous plus … Continue Reading
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