Key Takeaways:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued two new guides for platforms and marketers to help ensure transparency in online reviews and address soliciting, moderating, and reporting reviews, and the use of third-party “reputation boosting” services.
  • The FTC has actively enforced against companies responsible for publishing deceptive reviews and blocking honest reviews, and recently announced a proposed $4.2 million settlement with online retailer Fashion Nova over the retailer’s practice of review-gating.


Continue Reading FTC Guidance for Platforms and Marketers Utilizing Online Customer Reviews

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently vacated its April 2021 opinion holding that websites do not constitute places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Prior to this decision, the Eleventh Circuit was the only federal circuit court of appeal to explicitly hold that Title III of the ADA does not apply to websites, although federal courts are split as to whether Title III extends only to websites with a “nexus” to a physical location or to stand-alone e-commerce sites.
  • In 2021, as in other recent years, thousands of website accessibility cases were filed and an untold number of demand letters were received by businesses. Businesses should consider digital accessibility and ways to reduce risk of claims.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Vacates Ruling That Websites Are Not Public Accommodations Under the ADA

The new Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising (the Guidelines) issued by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) went into effect on January 1, 2022. The Guidelines apply to advertising that is primarily directed at children under the age of 13 in any medium. CARU will monitor child-directed advertising and media for compliance with the Guidelines

Key Takeaways:

  • The FTC’s new Enforcement Policy Statement provides a roadmap for how the FTC may enforce against allegedly unfair and deceptive practices related to automatically recurring subscriptions.
  • The Enforcement Policy Statement may indicate a more aggressive approach by the FTC toward recurring billing and subscription programs.


Continue Reading FTC Issues Enforcement Statement on Recurring Subscription Programs and Dark Patterns

Key Takeaways:

  • On October 4, 2021, California passed an amended automatic renewal law that will require businesses to follow stricter cancellation and notice requirements for subscription-based products and services.
  • The updated law goes into effect on July 1, 2022.


Continue Reading California Passes Updated Automatic Renewal Law

Key Takeaways:

  • The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has released new guidelines for children’s advertising, moving beyond traditional TV advertising, to address a broader range of digital advertising issues.
  • The updated Guidelines go into effect on January 1, 2022 and apply to advertising that is primarily directed to children under age 13 in any medium or content.


Continue Reading CARU Updates Children’s Advertising Guidelines

On April 29, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a public workshop to examine consumer protection issues related to “dark patterns”—website and app interface features designed to subvert or impair consumer autonomy, decision-making, or choices.

In a recent statement, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra defined dark patterns as “design features used to deceive, steer, or manipulate users into behavior that is profitable for an online service, but often harmful to users or contrary to their intent.” According to Chopra, examples of dark patterns include “misdirection, confusing language, hidden alternatives, or fake urgency to steer people toward or away from certain choices.”  The FTC recently warned against employing a “roach motel” dark pattern scenario, specifically where it is easy for consumers to enter into a digital subscription program, but nearly impossible to escape (unsubscribe).
Continue Reading FTC Announces Workshop to Address Digital “Dark Patterns”

Key Takeaways:

  • The FTC’s Enforcement Policy on S. Origin Claims and related compliance guide apply to advertising of “Made in USA” or similar U.S. origin claims, including manufacturer advertisements of private label products to trade customers who will later market and sell such products under retail brand names.
  • The $1.2 million settlement is the largest obtained by the FTC in a Made in USA case and reinforces prior signals that the agency will continue to seek monetary penalties when enforcing against allegedly deceptive Made in USA


Continue Reading FTC and Glue Maker Reach $1.2 Million Settlement Over Deceptive “Made in USA” Claims