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Key Updates

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with internet phone service provider Vonage for allegedly using dark patterns to make it difficult for customers to cancel their phone service, charging unnecessary fees, and continuing to charge customers who had canceled their service. Dark patterns are design practices – often for a website or software app – that harm consumers, typically by manipulating or tricking them into making choices that they might not otherwise have made.
  • Under the settlement terms, Vonage is required to obtain express consent before charges, simplify its cancellation procedure, and pay $100 million in refunds.


Continue Reading Vonage To Pay $100 Million To Settle FTC Action Regarding Dark Patterns and Junk Fees

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representative John Sarbanes have jointly introduced a new bill—the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act (the Act)—to address barriers that Americans with disabilities encounter when attempting to use websites and apps. The Act proposes to codify digital accessibility requirements for websites and apps, set schedules for continuous accessibility-related rulemaking to keep up with technological changes, and establish organizations to serve as support structures to facilitate digital accessibility. If enacted, the Act would fill a hole left open by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has been interpreted by some (but not all) courts to apply to websites and apps.

Continue Reading New Bill Seeks To Establish Digital Accessibility Requirements for Websites and Apps

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on September 15, 2022, published Bringing Dark Patterns to Light (Dark Patterns Report), which stemmed from an FTC workshop. The Dark Patterns Report highlights common dark patterns—design practices that trick or manipulate consumers into making choices that they might not otherwise have made and that may cause harm. According

Key Update:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a virtual event on October 19, 2022, titled “Protecting Kids From Stealth Advertising in Digital Media.” The FTC is also seeking public feedback on how digital advertising and marketing affect children.
  • The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of BBB National Programs issued a compliance warning reminding advertisers that the Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising (Advertising Guidelines) apply to advertising directed to children in the metaverse.
  • Brands should be aware of this increased scrutiny by the FTC and CARU when engaging in advertising to children in digital media.


Continue Reading FTC and CARU Target Advertising to Children in the Digital Age

Key Takeaways:

  • These two cases are the latest in an ongoing push by the FTC to curb false and deceptive “Made in USA” or COVID-19-related representations by individuals capitalizing on a pandemic-fueled demand for American-made products.


Continue Reading Sticker Shock: FTC Enforces “Made in USA” Labeling Rule

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.

Continue Reading FTC Seeking Public Input to Modernize Digital Advertising Guidance

Key Takeaways:

  • 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.


Continue Reading FTC Seeks to Enforce “Made in USA” Labeling Rule in Complaint Against Battery Seller

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 updates:

  • 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.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Denies Rehearing in ADA Website Accessibility Case