Category Archives: Federal Trade Commission

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Third Party Complaints to the FTC: Do They Lead to Enforcement Action?

Last week, Gonzalo wrote about the letter Truth in Advertising sent to the FTC, urging the Commission to investigate Diageo’s use of influencers to market Ciroc vodka on Instagram. We also learned last week that the Humane Society sent a similar letter to the FTC requesting that Commission initiate an investigation of Pilgrim’s Pride for its … Continue Reading

FTC Asked to Investigate Use of Influencers to Market Vodka

Earlier this week, Truth in Advertising (or “TINA.org”) sent a letter to the FTC urging the Commission to investigate Diageo’s use of influencers to market Ciroc vodka on Instagram. According to the letter, TINA.org collected more than 1,700 Instagram posts across 50 different influencers — including Ciroc brand manager and CMO Sean “Diddy” Combs — … Continue Reading

What The FTC Said About Direct Selling In 2018

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission released new business guidance for direct sellers and multilevel marketers describing the legal principles that it will apply when evaluating practices under the FTC Act. Law360 published the article “What The FTC Said About Direct Selling In 2018,” co-authored by partner John Villafranco and senior associate Donnelly McDowell. … Continue Reading

FTC Testimony Signals Possible Increase in “Made in USA” Advertising Scrutiny

On November 27, the FTC Commissioners testified on a range of issues before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security. One excerpt that caught our attention was their comments on “Made in USA” advertising and the potential for increased scrutiny. Here’s an excerpt of the Q&A between Sen. Shelly Moore … Continue Reading

FTC Settlement Addresses Influencers and Native Ads

Two companies and their principals have agreed to settle FTC allegations that they misled consumers by presenting paid endorsements as independent consumer reviews and ads as independent news stories. Creaxion, a PR agency, was tasked with creating a campaign to promote a client’s new mosquito repellent product around the time the press was reporting about … Continue Reading

Christine Wilson Sworn In as FTC Commissioner Following Maureen Ohlhausen’s Departure

Yesterday, Christine Wilson was sworn in as FTC Commissioner. Commissioner Wilson – the fifth and final Trump appointee – joins the FTC from Delta Airlines and assumes former Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen’s seat. Commissioner Ohlhausen announced her departure on Tuesday – the day her term ended, concluding over six years of service as Commissioner, including a … Continue Reading

FTC Hits Road Block in DIRECTV Advertising Case Seeking $3.95 Billion Remedy

The Northern District of California recently ruled on DIRECTV’s motion for judgment on partial findings in a case where the FTC is seeking $3.95 billion in damages. The FTC’s case alleges that DIRECTV engaged in misleading advertising over a span of more than a decade and across a variety of media channels ranging from television … Continue Reading

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: FTC Updates Jewelry Guides

The FTC recently finalized updates to its Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, which provide the FTC’s interpretation of the jewelry marketing rules found in 16 C.F.R. §23.  The FTC hosted a roundtable in 2013, which we wrote about here, and considered stakeholder comments prior to finalizing the new Guides.  The updated … Continue Reading

Big Government? FTC Advocates for More Authority in Congressional Hearing

Last week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a Committee Hearing on the Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission. All five Commissioners attended and their message was largely the same: the FTC needs additional rulemaking and civil penalty authority to better protect consumers, especially as it applies to privacy and data security enforcement. … Continue Reading

Court Temporarily Halts Risky “Risk-Free” Offers

Last week, a California court granted a temporary restraining order against Triangle Media, a company that sells various types of products using “risk free” trials. According to the FTC, though, the trials were very risky, involved hidden charges, and violated various laws. When consumers clicked on ads for Triangle’s products, they landed on websites promoting … Continue Reading

FTC Examining How Consumer Protection and Privacy May Be Affecting Innovation and Competition; Seeking Input and Will Hold Policy Hearings to Address

The FTC announced yesterday that it will accept comments and hold a series of public hearings on consumer protection, privacy, and competition policy and enforcement.  The hearings will take place during fall and winter of this year and will evaluate whether recent changes in the economy, technology, or international landscape require adjustments to how the … Continue Reading

Worlds Collide: FTC Answers CPSC’s Request for Written Comments on IoT and Product Hazards

If you follow our blog, you know that we often write about issues involving the FTC and the CPSC, but we usually do not write about both in the same post. Now those worlds have collided. The staff of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (“BCP”), a prominent voice in the Internet of Things dialogue, … Continue Reading

Andrew Smith Named Director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

Andrew Smith was recently named Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. With a strong background in financial matters, businesses can expect Smith to focus on issues affecting consumer financial services. Smith is not a stranger to federal positions. Although most recently a Partner in the Regulatory and Public Policy Group at Covington & … Continue Reading

Why So BLU?: FTC Settles Privacy and Data Security Claims with Mobile Company; Fencing-In Relief Requires Consumer Opt-In to Data Sharing

Earlier this week, the FTC settled its case with BLU Products, Inc., a cell phone company the FTC claimed misled consumers about its privacy and data security practices. According to the agency, the company represented that it did not collect unnecessary personal information and that it imposed specific data security procedures to protect consumers’ personal … Continue Reading

Senate Confirms Full Slate of New FTC Commissioners

The Senate yesterday confirmed all five nominees to the Federal Trade Commission by voice vote, which means the five-person body will soon be restored to full capacity after over a year with only two Commissioners.  Current Chair Ohlhausen released a statement congratulating incoming Chair Joseph Simons and soon-to-be new Commissioners Noah Phillips, Becca Slaughter, Rohit … Continue Reading

FTC Files Complaint Against Lending Club for Allegedly Deceptive and Unfair Online Loan Practices

The FTC today filed a complaint against Lending Club alleging that it deceived consumers by advertising loans with “no hidden fees” and subsequently concealing substantial loan origination fees.  The complaint points to consumer complaints and internal compliance documents as evidence that Lending Club knew that consumers were being misled and continued to misrepresent the loans … Continue Reading

New Article on Whether A Single FTC Commissioner Constitute A Quorum

FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny is scheduled to resign effective April 28 and may leave with acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen as the sole commissioner. Law360  published an article by partner John Villafranco and professor Stephen Calkins that discusses whether the FTC can take formal action by a 1-0 vote and when does a commission cease being a commission? To read … Continue Reading

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Confirmation Hearings on FTC Chair and Commissioner Nominees

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held confirmation hearings yesterday for the four nominees to the Federal Trade Commission: Joseph Simons (nominated as Chair), Rohit Chopra, Noah Phillips, and Christine Wilson.  We previously discussed the nominations of Simons, Chopra, and Phillips here.   Wilson, currently a Senior Vice President at Delta Airlines and previously Chief … Continue Reading

FDA & FTC Issue Joint Warning Letters to Companies Marketing Products to Overcome Opioid Addiction and Withdrawal

The FDA & FTC today posted warning letters to 11 marketers and distributors of opioid cessation products, alleging that such products were unapproved new drugs that violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and that made unsubstantiated, deceptive claims in violation of the FTC Act.  In addition to the 11 joint warning letters … Continue Reading

2017 Recap

Most Popular Ad Law Access Posts of 2017 As reported in our Ad Law News and Views newsletter, Kelley Drye’s Advertising Law practice posted 106 updates on consumer protection trends, issues, and developments to this blog in 2017. Here are some of the most popular: New Lawsuit Highlights Risks of Using User-Generated Content FTC Announces $1.3 … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Business Guidance on Multi-Level Marketing, Memorializing Principles from Prior Settlements on Hot Button Issues

The FTC released today Business Guidance Concerning Multi-Level Marketing, which offers answers to frequently asked questions to assist multi-level marketers in evaluating their business practices for compliance with the FTC Act.  The Guidance begins by restating the general standard for pyramid schemes set forth in the FTC’s 1975 Koscot decision and then goes on to … Continue Reading

On the Eve of the FCC’s Reclassification of Broadband Services, the FCC and FTC Release Memorandum of Understanding for Oversight of Broadband

On December 11, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will allocate oversight and enforcement authority related to broadband Internet access service (BIAS) between the two agencies.  The new MOU was announced three days before the FCC’s scheduled vote to reclassify BIAS as … Continue Reading

FTC Announces $1.3 Million Settlement in Negative Option Case

Last week, the FTC announced that an online lingerie company had agreed to return more than $1.3 million to customers who enrolled in a negative-option membership program offering discounts and other benefits. Under Adore Me’s VIP program, a member would be charged $39.95 per month, unless the member either purchased apparel or pressed a “skip” … Continue Reading
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