On December 20, 2019 the FTC sued FleetCor Technologies, Inc. and its CEO, Ronald Clarke, for alleged misleading advertising practices, claiming FleetCor had collected at least $200 Million dollars in hidden fees from fuel card service customers. According to the Complaint, FleetCor’s ads promised customers that their fuel card service had no setup, transaction, or membership fees. But the FTC alleges that FleetCor charged customers those very fees, merely renamed as “Account Administration Fees,” “Program Fees,” “High Credit Risk Account Fees,” “Convenience Network and Out of Network Fees,” “Minimum Program Administration Fees,” and “Late Fees and Interest and Finance Charges.”  Continue Reading FTC Sues FleetCor for Hidden Fee and other Deceptive Advertising Practices

The National Advertising Division recently revealed its plans to launch a fast-track resolution process to resolve certain false advertising claims in a mere 2-4 weeks. This fast-track process will provide a useful tool for companies that want to quickly and efficiently challenge certain competitor advertising practices. Continue Reading NAD Reveals Initial Plans for 2020 Fast-Track Process

Companies providing web services to government agencies may want to note a recent decision in State of California ex rel. Bashin v. Conduent Inc., in which the California Superior Court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss a false claims act suit stemming from its representations in an RFP with the state regarding website accessibility. Continue Reading Web Accessibility Suit Alleging False Claims Act Violations Survives in California Court

In November, the FTC issued a new resource for online social media influencers, titled “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers,” which provides compliance tips for influencers disclosing payment, free products, and other “material connections” in their social media posts.  This new guide is the latest development in an ongoing effort by the FTC to educate influencers on when disclosure obligations apply and how to make effective disclosures.  A few takeaways from the new guide Continue Reading FTC Publishes “101” Disclosures Guidance for Social Media Influencers

On October 21, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had settled two cases regarding alleged fake indicators of social media influence and fake product reviews.

In the first action, the FTC alleged that Devumi, LLC and its CEO had “sold fake indicators of social media influence, including fake followers, subscribers, views, and likes, to users of different social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine, and SoundCloud.”  These fake indicators were designed to make the influencers more attractive to businesses and individuals hiring the influencers or making purchase decisions related to the influencers (e.g., the more followers or engagement associated with the influencer, the higher fees a business might pay to engage them or more value consumers might give their opinion). Continue Reading FTC Settles Two Cases of Alleged Fake Reviews and Online Influence

Businesses must begin taking concrete steps to prepare for the next wave of environmental and consumer products safety litigation, which is likely to focus on any historic and/or current use of materials containing certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). An umbrella term covering more than 5,000 man-made chemical compounds, PFAS has been widely used in consumer and industrial products for more than 70 years, including in many common food containers and wrappers, non-stick cookware, furniture, clothing and other products that resist water, grease or oil. Known colloquially as “forever chemicals,” scientific studies have suggested that human exposure to unsafe levels of PFAS may be linked to a variety of health risks. The federal government has announced regulatory and legislative efforts to reduce or eliminate the use of PFAS compounds in consumer products and several state governments have already adopted laws doing the same.

The following update addresses possible risks for manufacturers and distributors of products containing PFAS, as well as next steps these companies should take. Read our update here.

On Thursday, October 26, 2019, and Friday, October 27, 2019, nearly 40 complaints were filed in the Southern District of New York against various retailers and restaurants alleging that failure to provide gift cards in Braille violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a company that sells store gift cards either online or in places of public accommodation, you may want to take note and analyze your risk.

In late September 2019, California enacted a new law, AB 647, that would impose expanded disclosure requirements on certain cosmetic and disinfectant products. Effective in July 2020, manufacturers and importers of cosmetics and disinfectants that contain hazardous substances, as defined by California’s Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), would need to post a safety data sheet (“SDS”) on the entity’s website by the product’s brand or commonly known name. The required SDS must also be translated into Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and other languages as required by DIR. Continue Reading California Expands Disclosure Requirements Regarding Cosmetics and Hazardous Substances