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FTC Settles With Hotel Room Resellers Over Alleged Misrepresentations

Reservation Counter, LLC and its parents companies have settled Federal Trade Commission charges that they misrepresented hotel bookings and credit card charges to consumers. The proposed order bars the defendants from future conduct including leading consumers to believe incorrectly that they are communicating directly with hotels to book rooms. As a result, the defendants may … Continue Reading

Maine Supplements FTC Weight-Loss Enforcement Action

Marketing Architects, Inc. (“MAI”), an advertising agency specializing in direct response radio and television ads, will pay $2 million in equitable relief to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Office of the Attorney General of Maine for allegedly creating and disseminating deceptive radio ads for weight-loss products AF Plus and Final Trim. The joint … Continue Reading

Reed Smith partner Douglas Wood is honored to be co-chairing the 2018 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Advertising Law & Public Policy Conference.

The ad industry – and the brands that are its anchors to success – are under attack. Two articles appearing in major publications take publishers, brands and agencies to task on legal issues. Please see the BuzzFeed article and the New York Times article. On the other hand, occasionally there is some good news. Brian Jacobs’ article in … Continue Reading

Kirkland FACTA Case May Create Circuit Split

Kirkland, Inc. will face a putative class action for allegedly violating the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”). The plaintiffs filed their complaint against Kirkland in April 2017 for displaying the first six and the last four digits of their credit card or debit card numbers on their purchase receipts.  According to the plaintiffs, … Continue Reading

FTC Comes Down Hard on Mass-Mail Fraud Schemes

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a default judgment against David Raff, Millenium Direct Incorporated, and Ian Gamberg over charges alleging that they engaged in a mass-mail fraud scheme inducing mostly elderly consumers to pay money in order to receive a cash prize that never arrived. According to the order, announced December 18, the defendants … Continue Reading

Jason Gordon Will Deliver Free ANA Webinar on FTC Issues on January 9, 2018

Jason Gordon will be speaking on Tuesday, January 9th to the Association of National Advertisers. The free one-hour webinar, titled “The # FTC Review” will provide an update on the latest enforcement actions brought by the FTC and the types of enforcement actions the industry can expect to see from the FTC in 2018. Click … Continue Reading

U.S. Customs Determines Coffee Bean Country of Origin is Where Roasted

Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) published its final determination that the country where raw green coffee beans are roasted—not necessarily grown—is their country of origin for the purpose of government procurement.  It based this decision on the grounds that roasting raw green coffee beans renders them “substantially transformed” into a new article … Continue Reading

Soy Vey! FDA May Revoke Soy’s Heart Health-Claim

The FDA has called into question its health claim finding a link between consumption of soy protein and reduced risk of heart disease. Since 1999, the FDA has allowed manufacturers and advertisers to label soy products with an “authorized” claim of soy’s heart-health benefits.  However, proposed rulemaking may reduce it to a “qualified” claim of … Continue Reading

Prize-Linked Savings Laws Spread Across States

With Americans’ saving habits in the news as the federal government considers caps on retirement contributions, financial institutions should be aware that many states are passing laws making it easier to incentivize saving. To date, 26 states have enacted legislation that liberalizes their approaches to games of chance in support of good consumer saving practices. … Continue Reading

Quaker Oats Succeeds in Maple Syrup Suit

The Central District of California granted Quaker Oats Company’s Motion to Dismiss a Consolidated Class Action Complaint on October 10. Plaintiffs alleged Quaker Oats Company was liable for labeling its “Maple & Brown Sugar”-flavored instant oatmeal as “Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Maple & Brown Sugar” alongside an image of a pitcher of maple syrup.  The plaintiffs … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Sanctions Weight-Loss Supplement Marketers for Violating Past Court Order

A judge in the Northern District of Georgia has found a number of defendants, comprising a larger company named Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Hi-Tech”), in contempt for repeated violations of court orders prohibiting the defendants from making deceptive marketing claims about weight-loss supplements and erectile dysfunction products. As a result of the order, Hi-Tech is required … Continue Reading

FTC Issues New but Narrow COPPA Guidance on Voice Recordings

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released a policy enforcement statement to provide additional guidance under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) for organizations that use audio voice recordings of children. This additional guidance builds on the FTC’s 2013 updates to COPPA that brought additional data types, such as photographs, videos and audio … Continue Reading

Nominations for FTC Commissioner Vacancies Announced

The president has announced two nominations for Federal Trade Commission posts, including the chair position. Joseph Simons, who served at the agency for almost two decades and directed the Bureau of Competition from 2001 to 2003, has been nominated for the chairmanship, while Rohit Chopra of the Consumer Federation of America has also been nominated … Continue Reading

227k Consumers to Receive Refund Checks from Dietary Supplement Company Settlement

Roughly 227,000 consumers will receive an average of $43 each in an effort by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to send refunds to purchasers of dietary supplement products sold by Health Formulas LLC. The $9.8 million total refund is the result of a 2016 settlement with the company, its owners, and related companies, such as … Continue Reading

FTC Provided Guidance Regarding Affiliate Marketing

The FTC alerted consumers to the truth behind online advertisements connected to affiliate marketers in a September 20th blog post titled, What’s affiliate marketing? Should I Care? The FTC took action against an online marketing operation this summer over a low-cost trial scam involving tooth-whitening products. According to the FTC, many consumers remain unaware that … Continue Reading

“Pact” Health App Breaks Pact, Settles With FTC

Pact, Inc. settled charges with the FTC on September 21, 2017 that the mobile software application company engaged in deceptive acts and practices, unfair billing practices, and failure to disclose material terms relating to its Pact app. The Pact app is premised on paying members that complete health-related weekly “pacts” with funds generated by users … Continue Reading

FTC Makes New Strides in Social Media Influencer Space with Settlement, Warnings, and Guidance

This month, online gaming social media influencers Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell settled the Federal Trade Commission’s first charges against individual failure to disclose material information in social media endorsements. Martin and Cassell are both operators of YouTube channels with millions of subscribers in the online gaming community and owners and officers of CSGOLotto, Inc., an … Continue Reading

NIST Updates Its Security and Privacy Guidance

Earlier this month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) issued its fifth and latest draft of its “Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations” guidance document. The NIST guidance document expands on previous drafts that focused on privacy and security improvements for the federal government and now provides security and privacy … Continue Reading

Dona J. Fraser, formerly of ESRB, to serve as Director, Children’s Advertising Review Unit

Dona Fraser, a leading privacy expert, comes to CARU from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a self-regulatory program developed by the video game industry. Dona brings to CARU a strong understanding of the marketplace challenges facing children’s advertisers, the complexities of children’s privacy issues and extensive experience with self-regulation. Dona has spoken on these … Continue Reading

Laura Brett Selected As New NAD Director

Last week, Laura Brett was named director of the National Advertising Division of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (“NAD”). Laura Brett joined the NAD in 2012, and is widely viewed as an excellent choice to maintain continuity with former director Andrea Levine. Laura speaks frequently at advertising conferences about the role of the NAD in the … Continue Reading
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