Another new year begun, so it’s time for retailers to revisit advertising and marketing law compliance strategies to avoid class actions, regulatory enforcement actions, and competitor challenges. We share our picks for the top five U.S. marketing law topics that deserve your attention in 2023.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it is seeking public comment on the Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims (Green Guides) as it considers potential updates. Last updated in 2012, the Green Guides serve as the FTC’s guidance for environmental marketing claims. The FTC is seeking public feedback on various green advertising topics, including whether to make the Green Guides independently enforceable and their interaction with other environmental marketing laws. The FTC is interested in hearing what industry stakeholders and consumers think about environmental claims generally, including those that are not currently covered by the guidelines.…
- 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.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering rulemaking to curb unfair and deceptive fees.
- The FTC seeks comments on the effects of such fees and the methods companies may employ to impose them.
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…
- 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.
- On August 5, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $2.8 million settlement with the marketers of Patriot Masks for allegedly deceiving consumers about the efficacy and country of origin of their personal protective products (PPE). Days earlier, in a similar action finalized on July 28, 2022, the FTC imposed over $200,000 in fines against the owner of a patriotic apparel company for swapping “Made in China” tags with “Made in USA” tags.
- 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.
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.…
- 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.
‘Tis the season for retailers to set best practices to avoid class actions, regulatory enforcement actions, and competitor claims. Ring in the new year with these top five U.S. advertising and marketing law takeaways.