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:

  • 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:

  • FTC sends Notice of Penalty Offenses to advertisers warning that unfair and deceptive acts and practices related to endorsements could trigger penalties of up to $43,792 per violation.
  • Advertisers should review and refresh their policies, trainings, and compliance programs for endorsements, influencers, and consumer reviews to ensure compliance with the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (Endorsement Guides) and related FTC guidance and notices.


Continue Reading FTC Issues Notice of Penalty Offenses Warning Companies to Comply with Endorsement Requirements

Key Takeaways:

  • Brands should honor advertised product benefits and avoid techniques to block product use.
  • Under the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (and state auto-renewal laws), advertisers must disclose material terms and conditions and obtain consumers’ express consent before charging a payment card or account.

The FTC and MoviePass recently settled related to allegations that the company used deceptive tactics to prevent subscribers from using its service and insecurely held subscribers’ private information. The FTC’s complaint alleged that MoviePass used three tactics, described below, in a perceived attempt to save money on their $9.95 per month subscription service that was advertised as providing unlimited access to certain films in theaters.

Limiting Subscribers’ Usage: The FTC alleged that MoviePass, its parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, Inc. (Helios), and its principals Mitchell Lowe and Theodore Farnsworth, scrambled at the high demand for the subscription service and took steps to prevent users from receiving the advertised “one movie per day” that they had paid for in order to cut costs. The FTC listed the following deceptive or unfair tactics that MoviePass operators allegedly engaged in to set up roadblocks for consumers:
Continue Reading MoviePass Settles with the FTC Regarding Limitations on Subscribers’ Usage

Key Takeaways:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is actively using the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act to protect consumers, with a new case alleging the defendant failed to timely deliver masks and failed to process refunds or cancellation requests. The complaint also alleges the defendant promised N95 masks but delivered cloth masks instead.
  • The FTC’s Mail Order Rule requires a seller to notify customers when a delay is discovered, make adjustments to website content to give appropriate notice, and offer the right to cancel with an adequate refund.


Continue Reading FTC Brings Action Alleging False PPE Delivery Claims

On April 22, 2021, in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in AMG Capital Management v. FTC held that the authorization to seek a “permanent injunction” under Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act does not permit the FTC to obtain equitable monetary relief such as restitution and disgorgement. While the FTC may

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”