Monthly Archives: March 2011

Google Buzz Settlement Includes Two Privacy Settlement “Firsts” for the FTC

Google has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) claims alleging that the 2010 launch of Google Buzz, a social networking feature linking Gmail users with other people on Google’s network, involved deceptive tactics and violated Google’s privacy policy. The proposed settlement includes two firsts for the FTC: First FTC settlement that requires a company … Continue Reading

Hold the Tweets: Why Marketers of Consumer Health Products Should Watch For FDA’s Policy on Social Media

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to issue guidance and possibly regulations regarding use of social media. These policies will only be enforceable on marketers of prescription drugs and restricted medical devices; however, industry can expect that the rationale and policy behind the guidance and regulations will apply across the board to consumer … Continue Reading

“Payment Card Data Pass” Rules Gain Some Teeth: An Update on the Legal Landscape

Our May 31, 2010 BNA Privacy & Security Law Report article, “Scrutiny on Payment Card Data Pass: Raising the Profile of Personal Information Sharing Among Marketers,” summarized then-recent legislation introduced in Congress regarding an online marketing practice commonly known as “payment card data pass.” As described more fully in the Scrutiny article, payment card data … Continue Reading

Senate Hearing on Consumer Privacy Highlights Pending Legislation

On March 16, 2011, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing to examine online consumer privacy, with an emphasis on the use of behavioral targeting by online advertisers. The hearing, which included two panels of witnesses from the government and industry sectors, touched upon a growing number of legislative and … Continue Reading

Retailers Get a Forbearance Period for Previously-Exempt Fur

Pursuant to an enforcement policy the FTC announced earlier today, retailers of fur products that were previously subject to the $150 exemption under the Fur Products Labeling Act (“Fur Act”) will not have to pull those products from shelves by Friday. Under previous Fur Act authority, the FTC had exempted products containing fur or fur … Continue Reading

Be Careful What you Tweet

Last week, we posted about a settlement in a lawsuit over comments made in Twitter posts. This week, we’ve learned about three other instances in which tweets have gotten people into trouble. NBA referee William Spooner filed a lawsuit against the Associated Press and one of its writers, alleging that a comment posted by the … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Case Involving Misleading Endorsements in Social Media

This morning, the FTC announced a settlement with a company that sells guitar lesson DVDs using social media. According to the complaint, the company recruited affiliates to promote its courses through endorsements. In exchange, affiliates received commissions on sales resulting from referrals. The FTC charged that the company disseminated deceptive ads by representing that the … Continue Reading

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Top Enforcer Outlines Agenda

In a March 8 speech to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Richard Cordray, the top enforcement official for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), outlined his agenda for enforcement once the CFPB’s powers become effective on July 21, 2011. Prior to being appointed to his current position, Mr. Cordray served as attorney … Continue Reading

Verizon Wireless Files Lawsuit To Stop Premium SMS Fraud

This week, Verizon Wireless announced that it had filed a lawsuit against defendants who are running deceptive SMS campaigns. Like other carriers, Verizon allows subscribers to purchase content — such as ring tones, wall paper, and news alerts — from third parties. Verizon requires that content providers follow the MMA’s Best Practice Guidelines and clearly … Continue Reading

Largest Consumer Protection Verdict Ever Awarded in Iowa

On Tuesday, a state judge in Iowa ordered Vertrue, Inc. (formerly known as MemberWorks, Inc.) to pay $32.6 million in consumer restitution, civil penalties, and costs in connection with a ruling that the company violated the state’s buying club law and used deceptive and unfair practices to market buying club memberships. The memberships typically cost … Continue Reading

Court Approves Settlement in Gift Card Lawsuit

This week, a California Superior Court approved a settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit alleging that Amway Corporation and its related companies violated gift card laws. Amway’s gift cards included a notation instructing consumers to "redeem before" a certain date. The plaintiffs argued that this notation violated a California law that prohibits expiration dates on … Continue Reading

USDA’s FSIS Proposes Regulations to Launch New Catfish Safety and Inspection Program

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") Food Safety and Inspection Service ("FSIS") issued a proposed rule that is intended to ensure that commercial catfish products are properly marked, labeled, and packaged, and are not adulterated. The rule implements recently enacted legislation which was advocated by U.S. catfish producers, and singles out domestic and … Continue Reading

Courtney Love Settles Twitter Lawsuit

While the entertainment world is talking about Charlie Sheen’s posts on Twitter, another celebrity’s Twitter posts are getting attention in the legal world. This week, Courtney Love agreed to pay more than $430,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir. In a series of tweets, Love had accused Simorangkir of theft and … Continue Reading

Can We Say That? A Practical Guide to Substantiating Claims for Food and Consumer Health Products

This Monograph, published by the Food and Drug Law Institute, is designed to assist lawyers, regulatory advisors and marketing professionals answer the question "Can we say that?" as they design and execute programs to promote consumer health products such as foods, dietary supplements, non-prescription drugs and medical devices, cosmetics and pet care products. It serves … Continue Reading

FTC and Federal Reserve Issue Proposed Amendments to the Risk-Based Pricing Rule

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Federal Reserve Board issued proposed amendments to the Risk-Based Pricing Rule (“Rule”) that would require creditors to disclose credit score information when a credit score is used to set or adjust credit terms. The proposed changes would implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform … Continue Reading

Small Business Coalition Highlights Issues for Bureau

In anticipation of hearings on how the Dodd-Frank Act will impact small businesses, the a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led coalition of business groups provided Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner with recommendations regarding the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The group is urging the creation of a CFPB that is “nimble, effective, transparent, and … Continue Reading