Recent Posts

Overhyped claims and subpar science: A prickly pair

There are certain questions we ask ourselves when investigating companies’ health claims. Did they have appropriate substantiation? Did they tell the truth when they said their claims were supported by scientific studies? Did they clearly disclose that product endorsers were getting a piece of the pie?

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In-app and unapproved: FTC says Amazon charged parents' accounts without their OK

If there’s one theme that runs through decades of FTC law, it’s that companies need consumers’ informed consent to bill their accounts. That was true in the early days of mail order. It carried through to online shopping. And it remains the law for mobile devices, including in-app purchases. The FTC’s lawsuit against Amazon alleges the company didn’t honor that elementary principle.

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Who profits from cramming? FTC challenges T-Mobile's role in bogus billing

It was an all-too-common occurrence.  People’s mobile phone bills included unexplained – and unauthorized – monthly charges.  It’s called cramming and the FTC has brought a series of cases against companies that had fees for ringtones, horoscopes, “love tips,” etc., placed on cell phone bills without consumers’ consent.  The crammers took a chunk of the cash, but you might be surprised to learn who the FTC says pocketed a 35-40% piece of the action.  A just-filed lawsuit pulls back the curtain on Read Full Post >>

FTC to L’Oréal: Scientific claims need proof that’s more than just skin deep

When ads for beauty products convey subjective claims – for example, L’Oréal’s long-standing “Because I’m worth it” tagline – it’s unlikely consumers would think statements like that are supported by science.  (It’s hard to imagine a testing protocol that could establish whether or not we’re worth it.)  But flip through a magazine and it’s apparent that test tubes are overtaking powder puffs in how some cosmetics are marketed.  When companies tout the scientific research behind their advertising or say t

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The long and short of it

Ahab hunts big fish.
Captain and whaling boat sink.

Ishmael prevails.

Sometimes you want to read all 209,117 words of Moby Dick.  Other times a haiku will do.  Sometimes you want an in-depth analysis of the FTC’s enforcement, rulemaking, research, education, and international efforts related to privacy and data security.  Other times a summary will suffice.

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