The FTC published the proposed Negative Option Rule (Rule) to the Federal Register on April 24, 2023, with the goal of preventing unfair and deceptive practices related to recurring subscriptions for products and services. The FTC has invited the public to comment on proposed changes to the Rule. Written comments must be submitted by June
Another Round of Notice of Penalty Offenses—The FTC Targets Health Claims
- Under its Penalty Offense Authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned almost 700 marketers with a Notice of Penalty Offenses (Notice) that certain advertising claims must be proven or substantiated with reliable evidence, especially those related to health products, or they may face civil penalties.
- Advertisers should have a reasonable basis for health claims, including complying with recognized scientific standards when making claims about the effectiveness of their products in curing, mitigating, or treating significant conditions such as cancer or heart disease.
- The Notice comes on the heels of the FTC updates to Health Products Compliance Guidance (the Health Guides) and indicates the FTC continues to scrutinize health claims.
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FTC To Hold Workshop on “Recyclable” Claims as Part of Continuing Green Guides Review
As part of its assessment of the Guidelines for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a workshop on May 23, 2023, to consider “recyclable” advertising claims and issues related to environmental claims. The workshop is titled “Talking Trash at the FTC: Recyclable Claims and the Green Guides.”…
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FTC Proposes Rulemaking for Recurring Subscription Programs
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to expand its “Negative Option Rule” to apply to all recurring subscription programs (Proposed Amendment). The Proposed Amendment would have a sweeping effect on recurring subscriptions, requiring—similarly to some state laws—clear and conspicuous disclosure of material terms, double opt-ins for sign-ups, a simple cancellation method, and an annual renewal reminder. If approved, the Proposed Amendment would set a nationwide floor by requiring specific practices for subscriptions, but it would not supplant existing state laws addressing recurring subscriptions. The amendment would also greatly expand the FTC’s ability to seek penalties and consumer redress for violations.…
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FTC Settlement With NutraClick Reimburses Customers Nearly $1 Million for Recurring Subscription Practices
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has used a $1 million settlement with NutraClick to reimburse customers who allegedly believed they were receiving free products but were actually enrolled in an unwanted monthly subscription program.
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FTC Issues Updated Guidance for Advertising Health Products
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued Health Products Compliance Guidance (the Health Guides). The Health Guides replace prior FTC guidance issued in 1998 that largely focused on dietary supplements. The new guidance addresses advertising practices for a broader range of products, namely “any health-related product,” including foods, over-the-counter drugs, homeopathic products, devices, health equipment…
FTC Targets Lasik Eye Correction Promotional Pricing With $1.25 Million Settlement Order
- LCA-Vision, d/b/a LasikPlus and Joffe Medicenter, has agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) allegations that it misrepresented the price of eye surgery to entice prospective customers.
- According to the FTC’s allegations, only a small percentage of patients qualified for the promotional rate.
- In addition to the monetary fine, the clinics are prohibited from misrepresenting the cost of surgery or omitting restrictions on advertised services.
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Keep Your New Year Happy and Bright With These Ad Law Tips
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.
FTC Invites Comments for Green Guides Review
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.…
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Vonage To Pay $100 Million To Settle FTC Action Regarding Dark Patterns and Junk Fees
- 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.
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