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Category Archives: Federal Trade Commission

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FTC Claims that AT&T Failed to Deliver on ‘Unlimited’ Data Promises

Posted in Federal Trade Commission
Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against AT&T Mobility, LLC (“AT&T”) over claims that AT&T violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by engaging in unfair and deceptive practices relating to the company’s “unlimited” data plans. The FTC asserts that AT&T … Continue Reading

FTC Continues Green Guides Enforcement with Warning Letters

Posted in Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that it recently sent warning letters to 15 marketers of plastic waste bags advertised as being “oxodegradable,” “oxo biodegradable,” or “biodegradable.”  “Oxodegradable” and similar terms refer to an additive applied to the bag to enhance biodegradability in the presence of oxygen.  The letters, which are not available publicly, … Continue Reading

FTC v. Bayer: The Good News

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
The Department of Justice recently filed a motion in federal court against Bayer Corporation over advertising for its probiotic supplement, Phillips’ Colon Health.  The DOJ alleges that Bayer lacks the “competent and reliable scientific evidence” that a prior 2007 order requires the company to possess for any efficacy or benefit claim for a dietary supplement. According to … Continue Reading

FTC Closes an Investigation Involving Reviews by Employees

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Social Media
In previous posts, we’ve noted that if a person who writes a review about a product has a connection to the company that makes the product, that connection should be clearly disclosed. The types of connections that trigger this disclosure requirement include things such as payments, free products, and, of course, employment. According to press … Continue Reading

Ingredient Supplier Settles FTC Charges Related to Sponsored Trial

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
Earlier this week, the FTC announced a settlement with a company that supplies functional ingredients to food and dietary supplement sellers. According to the FTC, the company sponsored “a seriously flawed human clinical trial” on a green coffee ingredient, advertised the results of the study, and through its advertising, provided its customers with the “the means and … Continue Reading

Google to Refund at Least $19 Million Over Kids’ In-App Purchases

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Mobile Marketing, Privacy and Information Security
On September 4, 2014, the FTC announced a settlement with Google Inc., which requires the search giant to pay at least $19 million in refunds to consumers that the Commission alleges were billed for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by kids.  The settlement follows a similar settlement in January with Apple (which required Apple to pay … Continue Reading

FTC Asks (Too?) Much of Retailers

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Retail
The FTC recently announced that it sent warning letters to five “major retailers” selling athletic mouth guards on their websites. According to the FTC, the retailers’ websites included concussion claims that may be deceptive. The FTC urged the recipients of the letters to ensure that all concussion claims appearing on their sites are backed by … Continue Reading

BBB Accountability Program Issues Warning to Online Interest-Based Advertisers

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Information Security
Last Thursday, the BBB’s Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program issued a compliance warning, reminding online advertisers that its privacy code applies across devices and platforms and that the Accountability Program will enforce the code’s principles irrespective of the technology the advertiser uses to collect consumer activity and serve interest-based ads. In the warning, the Accountability … Continue Reading

Privacy and Data Security 15 Do’s and Don’ts: Tips for Avoiding FTC Enforcement

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Information Security
The FTC continues to remain focused on protecting consumers’ privacy and security online, offline, and in the mobile environment.  To date, the FTC has obtained more than 60 privacy settlements and brought over 50 data security cases (two of which are currently in litigation).  While nearly any company that financially benefits from the use of consumer personal … Continue Reading

The FTC Has Announced a Weight Loss Settlement … But Wait, Keep Reading

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
That the FTC has announced another weight loss settlement is no news at all.  The FTC averages about six new weight loss orders per year.  The new settlement, nevertheless, is notable as a reminder of the following points. The FTC has the power to impose bans.  The Order against the marketers of Double Shot diet … Continue Reading

FTC Releases a Second Order Requiring Preservation of Records from Clinical Trials

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
The FTC recently announced a settlement with the makers of Nopalea, a fruit drink derived from Nopal or “prickly-pear” cactus. The FTC alleges that the company and two individuals disseminated unsubstantiated claims that Nopalea improves respiration, treats skin conditions, and reduces inflammation and pain, including pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions. The company … Continue Reading

Third Plastic Lumber Company Hammered by FTC Over “Green” Claims

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Green Marketing
Last week, the FTC announced it had reached another settlement with a plastic lumber company regarding its green marketing claims.  This is the FTC’s third settlement in five months relating to environmental claims for plastic lumber products (the other cases involved N.E.W. Plastics Corp. and American Plastic Lumber, Inc.). The FTC’s complaint alleges that Engineered … Continue Reading

FTC Updates COPPA FAQs on Parental Consent Mechanisms

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Information Security
This week, the Federal Trade Commission announced the latest revisions to its Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) document to assist online operators as they work to comply with changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (“COPPA”) Rule that went into effect on July 1, 2013. The updated FAQs provide the following expanded guidance on verifiable parental … Continue Reading

FTC Files Suit Against Amazon Over Kids’ In-App Purchases

Posted in Federal Trade Commission
On July 10, 2014, the FTC filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Amazon unlawfully billed parents and other Amazon account holders for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by kids.  The complaint follows a similar FTC settlement with Apple and a similar class action lawsuit against Google.  The FTC’s complaint alleges that Amazon offers free … Continue Reading

The Devil’s in the Data: L’Oréal’s Wrinkle with the FTC

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission
The FTC announced last week that it settled allegations that cosmetics giant, L’Oreal, engaged in misleading and deceptive advertising relative to two of its anti-aging cosmetic products, “Lancôme Génifique” and “L’Oréal Paris Youth Code.”  The Complaint alleges that L’Oreal conducted research to identify skincare ingredients that increase activity of genes responsible for the production of … Continue Reading

FTC’s i-Health Settlement Features Evolving Substantiation and Fencing-In Standards

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
Earlier this week, the FTC announced that supplement marketers i-Health, Inc. and Martek Biosciences Corporation (the Companies) have agreed to settle charges of deceptive advertising for claiming that their BrainStrong Adult dietary supplement will improve adult memory and prevent cognitive decline.  BrainStrong Adult, which is sold at drug stores nationally and advertised online and on … Continue Reading

Is that Flexibility We See in an FTC Order on Disease Claims?

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
On May 28, 2014, the FTC announced a settlement with the company that sells Lice Shield shampoos, leave-in sprays, and products to be applied to head gear.  In the FTC’s view, the company did not possess adequate substantiation for claims that the products will prevent or reduce the risk of head lice.  Without admitting any … Continue Reading

Hat Trick: FTC Announces Changes to Wool Labeling Rules

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission
On Wednesday, the FTC announced amendments to the regulations under the Wool Products Labeling Act, which conform the regulations to the requirements of the Wool Suit Fabric Labeling Fairness and International Standards Conforming Act and harmonize them with the Textile Labeling Rules. Similar to the recently-issued amendments to the Textile and Fur Labeling Rules, these … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Changes to Fur Labeling Rules

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission
Last week, the FTC approved amendments to the regulations under the Fur Products Labeling Act, which update the Fur Products Name Guide, incorporate provisions of the 2010 Truth in Fur Labeling Act, and harmonize the regulations’ guaranty provisions with those in the Textile Labeling Rules. These changes could ease some of the burdens that manufacturers … Continue Reading

FTC Holds Privacy Seminar on Health Data, Emphasizes Transparency

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Mobile Marketing, Privacy and Information Security
Last week, the FTC held its third and final spring privacy seminar on the implications of consumer generated and controlled health data. The seminar featured presentations by Latanya Sweeney, the FTC’s Chief Technologist, and Jared Ho, an attorney in the FTC’s Mobile Technology Unit, and a panel discussion with representatives from the Department of Health … Continue Reading

Snapchat Captured in FTC Enforcement

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Information Security
On May 8, 2014, the FTC announced a settlement with Snapchat resolving allegations that the popular mobile messaging app deceived consumers over the disappearing nature of users “snaps” and made false and misleading representations concerning its privacy and information security practices.  The FTC took issue with several of Snapchat’s practices and representations: Disappearing “Snaps” – Snapchat … Continue Reading

POM Wonderful LLC Raises the Stakes at the D.C. Circuit

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug
On May 2, 2014, POM Wonderful LLC (“POM”) argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, urging it to overturn a Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) decision prohibiting POM from making disease-related claims without first having at least two randomized and controlled human clinical trials (“RCTs”) to back them up.  POM argued that … Continue Reading

FTC Seeks Further Comments on the State of Mobile Security

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Information Security
Following last June’s forum on mobile security, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) again seeks to draw public attention to security issues in the mobile space.  The FTC is soliciting comments from the public on a number of complex security issues discussed at the forum, including current privacy and data security risks in the mobile ecosystem, … Continue Reading