The FTC joined with the National Labor Relations Board in order to bolster efforts to protect workers against anticompetitive and unfair practices. It also announced a $25 million refund to U.S. and international consumers that were allegedly defrauded by a sweepstakes scheme. And for the first time in FTC history, the Commission brought an action under the Military Lending Act against a Jewelry company that allegedly mislead military families. These stories and more after the jump.
On July 7, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) announced it is acting against grill manufacturer Weber-Stephen Products, LLC, arguing that Weber’s warranties illegally restrict consumers’ right-to-repair. The Weber complaint is the third salvo in the FTC’s recent string of right-to-repair administrative complaints, after issuing two similar complaints against Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC and MWE Investments, LLC mere weeks prior. The FTC’s recent action thus signals that it will continue prioritizing enforcement of tying rules under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (“MMWA”).…
On May 20, 2022 the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) Commissioners unanimously approved a request for public comment on proposed updates to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (“Endorsement Guides” or “Guides”). In the draft revisions, released last week, the FTC seeks to update the Endorsement Guides and provide new examples that reflect advertisers’ growing reliance on social media advertising. The Endorsement Guides were last revised in 2009. See 16 CFR pt 255.
The Endorsement Guides require advertisers that feature endorsements made by endorsers with an unanticipated material connection to the advertiser—for example, monetary payment, a sweepstakes entry, or something else of value—to disclose that connection in the advertising. In addition, endorsements must be truthful and accurate, reflecting the endorser’s actual experience with the product. Marketers that fail to comply with the Endorsement Guides violate Section 5 of the FTC Act.…
We recently reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) increased enforcement against review curation policies that disproportionately restrict or remove negative reviews. Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has issued a Bulletin that makes clear that the suppression or manipulation of consumer reviews posted about financial products and services is an unfair and deceptive act or practice. The CFPB’s Bulletin drew from recent FTC guidance and enforcement activity as well as the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 and stated that conduct such as (1) deceptively posting fake reviews that appear independent, (2) suppressing or manipulating reviews such as by limiting the posting of negative reviews, or (3) imposing contractual ‘gag’ clauses on consumers in form contracts that prohibit honest reviews is generally a violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act.
Continue Reading CFPB Announces Policy Against Consumer Review Suppression
A few months after putting the nation’s top advertisers on notice that consumer endorsements are high priority, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently announced a settlement with online retail company Fashion Nova, LLC (“Fashion Nova”) for allegedly blocking negative reviews from being posted on its website, signaling to retailers that the FTC is cracking down on companies that inflate consumer reviews. In conjunction with the settlement, the FTC also released guidance regarding the collection and publication of online reviews directed to online retailers and review platforms and announced that it sent letters to 10 companies offering review management services.
Continue Reading FTC Ramps Up Enforcement on Consumer Reviews
In the recent AdAge article, ESG Advertising Demands More Than Mere Legal Compliance, Chris Cole shares his thoughts on the five best practices for how companies advertise their ESG efforts:
- Advertise honestly about accurately measurable improvements
- Qualify with reference to metrics or uncertainty to put statement into context
- Use well-established standards for communication
Monday, January 10, 2022
Consumer Protection: Cryptocurrency Payment Scams
- The FTC issued a warning alerting consumers to a new cryptocurrency scam. Scammers begin by impersonating government, law enforcement, or local utility companies. They message or call the victim to the tell them that they have won the lottery or a prize. Eventually, the scammer requests money from the victim and instructs the person to withdraw cryptocurrency from a cryptocurrency ATM. The scammer provides a QR code so the victim can transfer the cryptocurrency to themselves. Tracking the cryptocurrency is extremely difficult to do, which means most victims are not able to retrieve their funds. The FTC issued the warning due to the increased number of reported scams.
Our look back on the 10 most read posts from this past year highlights key developments in 2021. These posts reflect the emergence of environmental justice and environment, social, and governance as critical areas for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. They also show the growing enforcement trend among State Attorneys General and the Federal Trade Commission. Regulations have covered a wide range of issues, from chemicals and hazardous materials in the U.S. to digital markets in the European Union. And, as the impact of Covid-19 continues to affect us all, one of our most-read articles shows the continued struggle retailers face with pandemic-related lease disputes.
Continue Reading This Year’s Most Popular Posts
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Bureau of Consumer Protection: Deceptive and Misleading Conduct
- The FTC announced rulemaking geared towards combatting government and business impersonation fraud. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant uptick in scammers utilizing various forms of communication to impersonate government agencies or businesses in order to steal money or a consumer’s
Monday, December 6, 2021
Consumer Protection: FTC’s Franchise Rule
- The FTC filed an amicus brief in pending litigation to advise the Supreme Court that the FTC’s Franchise Rule cannot be used to determine whether a franchisee is an employee or an independent contractor. The Franchise Rule, codified as 16 C.F.R. §§ 436–437, requires franchisors to provide certain material disclosures to all potential franchisees. In its brief, the agency explained that it enacted this Rule in 1978 in response to widespread deception in the sale of franchises, and that it should preempt state laws only if they offer less protection to prospective franchisees.