Endorsements & Testimonials

It’s been a busy year in consumer protection law and during this holiday season, we’re taking stock of the past year and looking ahead to what’s next.  In 2018, we saw many class actions related to pricing practices, scrutiny of Made in USA claims, continued growth in popularity and the evolution of influencers (CGI influencers!), changes to automatic renewal laws, and a new slate of FTC Commissioners.

In 2019, we expect significant activity in these areas, plus more activity related to consumer reviews and the Consumer Review Fairness Act.  Further, representatives from the FTC are signaling that the FTC may start seeking more monetary remedies for consumer protection violations moving forward (versus only injunctive relief and ongoing monitoring).  Finally, the growth of the blockchain and digital currencies has raised a number of complex legal issues that companies using the blockchain must navigate, and 2019 will likely bring additional guidance (and challenges) in this area.

For more thoughts on what comes next, see our Hot Ad Law Topics for the New Year.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Maine recently delivered yet another “gut check” to businesses engaging in weight loss advertising, Map of Maineobtaining a $2 million dollar settlement against an advertising agency related to allegedly false claims. While challenges related to weight loss claims and related offers are all too familiar for brands, this settlement serves as a heavy reminder to ad agencies that they can also be held responsible for false advertising.

In its complaint against Marketing Architects Inc. (MAI), the FTC and Maine alleged that radio ads created and disseminated by MAI for its client, Direct Alternatives (the maker of Puranol, Pur-Hoodia Plus, PH Plus, Acai Fresh, AF Plus, and Final Trim) made a number of (1) false or unsubstantiated  weight loss claims; (2) false or inadequately-disclosed “free trial” claims; and (3) false testimonials or ads disguised as testimonials. Continue Reading Agency Beware: False Advertising Liability Applies to Agencies Too