Blog Entry June 2014

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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Hey, Rachel. The FTC is going DEF CON.

Hey, Rachel the Robocaller.  Every month we get 150,000 complaints about you and your robocalling besties.  We’ve sued dozens of them.  We’ve sponsored a national challenge to make your life harder.  But this time, Rach, the gloves are off.  We’re going DEF CON on you and we’re launching a particularly powerful surface-to-robocall missile with your name on it.

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Not-so-fantastic recycled plastic?

When comparing products made of plastic lumber – picnic tables, benches, trash bins, and the like – many consumers and businesses factor in environmental considerations.  So when California-based American Plastic Lumber suggested its products were made virtually entirely out of post-consumer recycled content like milk jugs and detergent bottles, it’s understandable that shoppers would take note.  But according to the FTC, buyers didn&rsq

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False statements to credit bureaus: Nothing to CROA 'bout

It’s called CROA – the Credit Repair Organizations Act – and it was put in place to protect people battling their way back from financial adversity.  Given the long history of questionable practices in this sector, CROA makes it illegal to charge people upfront before services are rendered.  It also bans misleading statements to credit bureaus about consumers’ credit records.  There’s been lots of talk about the harm posed by false negative information in credit

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It's Game Over for Gameover Zeus

The Department of Justice recently announced a multinational law enforcement effort to disrupt the Gameover Zeus Botnet.  What is it and why should your company care?

Gameover Zeus is malware designed to steal banking and other credentials from home and business computers.  Once infected, a computer becomes part of a global network of compromised computers known as a botnet.  Criminals use botnets to carry out illegal activity – like sending spam and spreading malware.  

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Fighting on three fronts: FTC weighs in on weight loss ads

Why do companies sell “miracle” diet pills and potions, promising results that defy the laws of physics?  Why do consumers buy them?  And what is the FTC doing about it?  Those are just some of the topics on the agenda at a congressional hearing today.  If you have clients that sell weight loss products or if you represent media outlets that run those ads, you’ll want to Read Full Post >>

Write your own headline

If you follow this blog, you know we try to catch readers’ eye with a turn of phrase in the title.  But when one of the defendant companies is named Bullroarer – and the FTC’s complaint alleges a massive mobile cramming scam – sometimes these posts just write themselves.  The settlement with Lin Miao, who ran the operation, is worth the attention of tech entrepreneurs who may not be familiar with the breadth of remedies availa

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Deceptive mortgage ads hit close to home

The headline read ZIP.  ZERO.  NADA.  In big print, the ads also said 0 money down* and 0 for paid closing costs*.  Heritage Homes didn’t include ZILCH, BUPKES, or (for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans) THE BIG GOOSE EGG, but the FTC says the meaning to prospective buyers was clear.  So how much truth was in that across-the-board “zero” claim?   Accor

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Where did I put those keys?

If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s only a matter of time.  You walk into a room – say, to get your sunglasses – and then can’t remember why you’re there.  So it’s no wonder that claims for BrainStrong Adult, a dietary supplement advertised on TV, online, and through an active social media presence, caught consumers’ eye.  Ads said that Brain Strong Adult “helps protect against normal cognitive decline as we age” and is “clinically shown to improve memory.”  Read Full Post >>

Ninth Circuit opinion offers insights into illegal pyramid schemes

It’s an illegal pyramid scheme.  That’s the conclusion reached by a federal appellate court in upholding a trial judge’s ruling in an FTC action challenging a multi-level marketing business operated by BurnLounge, Inc.  If you have clients in the business opportunity arena, the opinion is a must-read.

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The letter(s) of the law

It’s not like us to suggest you read someone else’s mail, but the FTC has sent letters that your clients might want to know about.

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