On June 3, 2022, the FTC made a request for comments about .com disclosures, including the increased use of dark patterns, manipulative user interface design, and other forms of digital deception that pose unique risks to consumers online and in the mobile space. The FTC is considering updating and reissuing its guidance document “Dot Com Disclosures: Information about Online Advertising,” last revised in March 2013.
- On April 12, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) used its authority under the new Made in USA Labeling Rule to bring a complaint against a battery seller for allegedly misrepresenting that its lithium ion cells were made in the USA, seeking over $100,000 in penalties.
- The Made in USA Labeling Rule codified pre-existing Made in USA guidance and was enacted in August 2021 to allow the FTC to more easily seek monetary penalties in connection with Made in USA violations.
- 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.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has declined to reconsider its decision to vacate the trial court’s judgment in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., ending litigation on one of the most significant website accessibility cases in the country. See our recent blog post regarding previous developments.
- On February 28, 2022, almost 200 advocacy groups, led by the American Council of the Blind and others, published a “Joint Letter to Enforce Accessibility Standards” to the head of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division.
- 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.