Archives: Regulatory – United States

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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 and state law enforcement officials announce initiative targeting illegal telemarketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a joint state-and-federal initiative, “Operation Call It Quits,” which targets illegal telemarketing practices that violate the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR, which applies to interstate telephonic marketing communications intended to “induce the purchase of goods or services or a charitable contribution,” makes it illegal to engage in “abusive” acts and practices … 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

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

Douglas Wood, Reed Smith Partner and General Counsel to the Association of National Advertisers, Discusses Growth Issues Facing Brands For 2019

Douglas Wood published an article for the Association of National Advertisers on January 2nd titled “Growth in 2019: A Legal Perspective.” In the article, Doug discusses how legal issues will affect brands and growth in years to come and provides an outlook on legal challenges marketers who care about growth need to keep in mind … Continue Reading

Five Companies Settle Privacy Case With NY AG Over Apps

The New York Attorney General settled cases with five companies – Equifax, Western Union, Priceline.com, Spark Network and Credit Sesame – for having mobile apps that failed to keep sensitive user data secure when transmitted over the Internet. The companies’ mobile apps suffered from a well-known security vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to intercept … Continue Reading

Ready Tech Settles Privacy Shield Case with FTC

Late last year, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled another enforcement action over false claims under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (the “Privacy Shield”). The FTC alleges that Ready Tech Corporation, a provider of online and instructor led training (“Ready-Tech”), falsely claimed in its privacy policy on its website that it was in the process … Continue Reading

New Year, New Vermont Law for Data Brokers

Effective January 1, 2019, a new Vermont law imposes data security and annual disclosure obligations on data brokerage companies (e.g., Acxiom, Experian, Epsilon). The law requires data brokers to register annually with the Vermont Attorney General and pay an annual registration fee. Data brokers must disclose annually to the State Attorney General, among other things, information … Continue Reading

“As Seen on TV” Means Exactly That, Court Finds

In a recent false advertising case, the court reminded everyone again that if you say something about your product, you had better mean it. Emson, which sells cookware products largely through direct response television spots, brought a false advertising claim against Masterpan and Smart & Eazy Corp. (“S&E”). According to Emson, both defendants made false … Continue Reading

Zika Repellent Could Not Keep Away FTC

PR firm Creaxion Corporation and Inside Publications, LLC settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week regarding promotional practices for Creaxion’s mosquito repellent. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Creaxion planned a media campaign around its launch of the mosquito repellent during the Zika virus outbreak tied to the 2016 Summer Olympics. They … Continue Reading

Just Fruit? Kind Faces Yet Another Class Action Lawsuit

Last month, a class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging that Kind, LLC (“Kind”) deceptively advertises certain Kind bars and fruit packets. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that Kind uses images of fruit on its products, and employs fruit sounding names, when the products do not contain whole fruit (e.g., the product containing mango, apple … Continue Reading

Stung by the FTC: Aromaflage Owner Settles Mosquito Repellant Advertising Claims

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a final consent order settling deceptive advertising charges against Mikey & Momo, Inc. and its owners regarding claims that its Aromaflage sprays and candles effectively repel mosquitoes, including mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus and other diseases. According to the FTC’s complaint, Mikey & Momo … Continue Reading
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