Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Consumer Protection: Advertising and Telemarketing

  • The FTC finalized a settlement with New York-Based Lifewatch, Inc, an ambulatory cardiac monitoring service, which will result in paying back more than $1.8 million to consumers, including many older Americans. The FTC’s complaint, filed jointly with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, alleged that the defendants bombarded consumers with at least a billion unsolicited robocalls to pitch supposedly “free” medical alert systems. These pre-recorded messages claimed that Lifewatch’s medical alert system was endorsed or recommended by reputable organizations like the American Heart Association. The company’s telemarketers often told consumers that a medical alert system had been purchased for them, and they could receive it “at no cost whatsoever.” Consumers eventually learned that they were responsible for monthly monitoring fees and that it was difficult to cancel without paying a penalty. The defendants are also banned from telemarketing and misrepresenting the terms associated with the sale of any product or service.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 29 – December 1, 2021)

In recent weeks, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) sent nearly two thousand letters with a “Notice of Penalty Offenses” to a who’s who of companies across America, putting them on notice that they might face steep potential civil penalties if they engage in deceptive conduct. The letters targeted top consumer products companies, leading retailers and retail platforms, major ad agencies, and other advertisers nationwide that engage in online marketing, multi-level marketing, offer “gig” economy jobs, or are in the for-profit education sector.
Continue Reading FTC “Notice of Penalty Offense” Letters – What Are They and What’s Next?

Monday, November 15, 2021

Financial Management Office: FTC Operations

  • The FTC issued its Fiscal Year 2021 Agency Financial Report outlining financial and high-level performance results and highlighting recent agency accomplishments. The 98-page report also contains an overview of the agency’s mission and organization, an independent auditor’s report of the FTC’s 2020 and 2021 financial statements, and the Office of the Inspector General’s assessment of the FTC’s top management and performance challenges.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 15-19, 2021)

Monday, November 8, 2021

Antitrust: Hart-Scott-Rodino Act

  • The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division released the agencies’ 43rd Annual Hart-Scott-Rodino Report. The report provides HSR Premerger Notification data for fiscal year 2020, and its release coincides with an unprecedented surge in pre-merger filings during the current fiscal year.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 8-12, 2021)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Deceptive or Misleading Conduct & Consumer Protection

  • The FTC recently issued full refunds totaling over $2 million to consumers who lost money through certain deceptive direct mail schemes. The agency recovered the refunds via a federal district court order resulting from the FTC’s lawsuit against Agora Financial, LLC, NewMarket Health, and other defendants. The lawsuit was based upon two publications defendants marketed to older consumers. One publication contained a protocol promising to permanently cure type 2 diabetes in 28 days, while the other promised to show how to claim money from a secret giveaway by Congress. The FTC obtained the order including consumer refunds before the Supreme Court stripped the agency of its ability to obtain equitable monetary relief in federal court in the April 22, 2021 AMG Capital decision. Congress has not yet acted on the FTC’s request to reinstate this power.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 1-5, 2021)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Bureau of Competition and FTC Operations

  • The FTC issued a policy statement restoring its pre-1995 practice of requiring parties under a merger consent decree to obtain the Commission’s permission before pursuing additional acquisitions in that market. This “Prior Approval” policy is designed to protect consumers and deter “clearly anticompetitive” deals, per Holly Vedova, the Director of the Bureau of Competition. The FTC will consider a number of factors when deciding whether to permit a deal, including (1) the nature of the transaction, (2) the level of market concentration and the degree to which the transaction increases market concentration, (3) the degree of pre-merger market power, (4) the parties’ history of acquisitiveness, and (5) evidence of anticompetitive market dynamics. The Commission approved the statement by a vote of 3-2; the Commissioners voting against the policy subsequently issued a dissenting statement.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (October 25-29, 2021)

On October 25, 2021, the FTC announced that it will seek to impose prior approval provisions on merging parties in all future consent decrees. These provisions will require parties to merger consent decrees to request formal Commission approval before closing any future transactions in the same market, and potentially adjacent markets, regardless of whether those subsequent transactions are reportable under the HSR Act. This shift reinstates a policy abandoned by the FTC in 1995, and seeks to provide the Commission the unilateral ability to block future transactions it views as problematic, without having to carry the legal burden in court.
Continue Reading FTC Plans to Impose Prior Approval Requirements for Future Transactions

Monday, October 18, 2021

Deceptive or Misleading Conduct & Protecting Older Consumers

  • The FTC issued its latest report to Congress on protecting older consumers, which highlights updated findings from the Commission’s fraud reports showing trends in how older adults report being affected by fraud with the most frequent type of fraud reported by older adults

On October 8, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled its charges against mattress company Resident Home LLC and its owner for allegedly making unsubstantiated claims that DreamCloud mattress’ are “proudly made with 100 percent USA-made premium quality materials.” In reality, the DreamCloud mattresses are finished abroad, and in some cases, they are completely imported or contain significant imported materials.
Continue Reading The FTC Settles “Made in USA” Case for $753,000 After New Rule Goes Into Effect