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.Continue Reading FTC Proposes Rulemaking for Recurring Subscription Programs

Key Update:

  • 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.

Continue Reading FTC Settlement With NutraClick Reimburses Customers Nearly $1 Million for Recurring Subscription Practices

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

Key Updates:

  • 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.

Continue Reading FTC Targets Lasik Eye Correction Promotional Pricing With $1.25 Million Settlement Order

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.Continue Reading FTC Invites Comments for Green Guides Review

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

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