On August 9, the US District Court of Georgia ruled that the FTC had provided “broad and detailed evidence” for its allegations that a tech company and its CEO engaged in deceptive advertising and unfair fee practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. The FTC’s 2019 complaint alleged the defendants made deceptive representations to customers and charged hidden, unauthorized fees in connection with the company’s “fuel card” as well as through co-branded cards, to companies in the trucking and commercial fleet industry. The FTC’s factual allegations include the following: 

Continue Reading Court Orders Injunctive Relief Against Tech Company for Deceptive Advertising, Unfair Fee Practices

On August 10, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule stating that digital marketing providers that are involved in the identification or selection of prospective customers or the selection or placement of content to affect consumer engagement including purchase or adoption behavior, are subject to the CFPB’s jurisdiction. The rule ostensibly clarifies the scope of companies that are “service providers” under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (“CFPA”) to include digital marketing providers, and thereby subjecting them to the CFPB’s authority to prohibit unfair, deceptive, abusive acts or practices (UDAAPs). 

Continue Reading CFPB’s New Interpretive Rule Sets Sights on Digital Marketing Vendors

“NFT” was 2021’s word of the year.  This isn’t too surprising—they’re everywhere!  The market cap for NFT transactions jumped from roughly $400 million at the beginning of 2021 to over $7 billion by year’s end.  What’s next and how can brands and other content creators leverage NFTs to bring value?
Continue Reading Thinking of Jumping on the NFT Bandwagon – Are you Prepared?

Last week, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022, a new bill that seeks to significantly restrict targeted advertising practices. The proposed legislation prohibits “advertising facilitators” (defined as entities who receive consideration for disseminating ads and collect or process personal information in connection with such dissemination) from targeting ads to individuals based on their personal information. In addition, the bill prohibits advertisers from targeting, or using an advertising facilitator to target, ads based on personal information that the advertiser obtained from a third party (i.e., anyone other than the individual to whom such information pertains), or that identifies a person as a member of a protected class. These restrictions also apply to practices that target groups of individuals and groups of connected devices, in addition to an individual person or connected device.
Continue Reading Proposed Federal Legislation Seeks to Ban Targeted Advertising

In October 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a sweeping package of six bills aimed at reducing plastic waste, improving recycling efforts, and clarifying labeling standards for recyclables and compostables.  These new laws will likely mean significant changes for many companies.  They come at a time when multiple states are passing similar environmentally focused bills, signaling a renewed effort to promote recycling and regulate green advertising.

Continue Reading California Passes Sweeping Package of “Green” Bills

The FTC has sent a strong message to industry that it plans to hold companies responsible for using endorsements and customer testimonials that deceive consumers.  The recent warning signals the FTC’s focus on fake reviews and endorsements and the agency’s intent to hold brands and advertising service providers accountable where necessary.  The agency is paying particularly close attention to how brands communicate with customers through third party influencers on social media.

Continue Reading FTC Signals Plan to Enforce Civil Penalties for Deceptive Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently settled an enforcement action against an advertiser for $753,000 for deceptive “Assembled in USA” product claims, the first such settlement following the FTC’s recent adoption of a new rule addressing unqualified “Made in USA” labeling claims.  (See Made in USA Labeling Rule.)

Continue Reading FTC Cracks Down On Violations of Newly-Codified “Made in USA” Claims Rule

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) recently revised its children’s advertising guidelines to address the increased prevalence of online media directed to children. Of note, the guidelines now apply to content directed to children under 13 -in line with COPPA- rather than the previous applicability to children under 12.

Continue Reading CARU Revises its Guidelines to Address Increase in Online Media

Florida recently amended its existing telemarketing laws, the Florida Do Not Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act.  SB 1120, which went into effect July 1, 2021, imposes significant additional restrictions (and additional penalties for violations) on businesses making calls to Florida residents or Florida area codes.

Continue Reading Florida Expands Telemarketing Laws

On January 25, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order entitled “Ensuring the Future is Made in America by All of America’s Workers,” which directs a broad review and strengthening of governmental procurement and financial assistance policies and regulations which require or provide a preference for goods, products or materials produced in the United States.[1]  While US content must be disclosed on automobiles, textile, wool and fur products sold in the US[2] and there is no law which requires a company to disclose the amount of US content or that a product is manufactured in the US, manufacturers and retailers who make claims about the amount of US content in their products must comply with the  “MADE IN USA” Enforcement Policy Statement issued by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”).[3]  The Enforcement Policy Statement applies to all products advertised or sold in the US, except those specifically subject to country-of-origin labeling requirements and “MADE IN USA” claims, express and implied, that appear on products and labelling, advertising and promotional materials and other forms of marketing including digital marketing and social media.[4]  In order to make an unqualified claim that a product is “MADE IN USA”, a manufacturer or marketer should have competent and reliable evidence (“a reasonable basis”) to support a claim that the product is “all or virtually all” made in the US.[5]
Continue Reading Seeking to Stop Deceptive ‘MADE IN USA’ Claims, the FTC Takes Action Against Brandnex