Blog Entry October 2011

Quoth the Maven

In celebration of Halloween — and with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe — here’s our take on what companies can do to make sure spooky business practices don’t come back to haunt them.

Once upon a midnight lawful
Pondering practices, good and awful,
Reading through the U.S. Code
For dos and don’ts I parse and claw.

I came upon the Trade Commission’s
Section 5 with all revisions.

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Mark your calendar

If you use the BCP Business Center, you know it’s a great source of practical compliance tips on advertising, telemarketing, online privacy, data security, and other topics. If you’re reading our blog, you know it’s a quick — and original — take on the latest developments in BCP enforcement, policy development, research, and education.

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Strike a pose?

Usually it’s the process server who uses a disguise — pretending to be a delivery man or repair person to catch someone off guard. But in a

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Auto-biography: The next chapter

The FTC’s motor vehicle roundtables are rolling along.  The next stop for The Road Ahead: Selling, Financing and Leasing Motor Vehicles is Washington, D.C., on November 17th.  The Roundtable — which will take place in the FTC’s New Jersey Avenue Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W. — will focus on leasing, a look back at what the FTC has learned throughout the course of the roundtables, and where the FTC should go from here.

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Remembering Virginia Knauer

Next time you’re at the grocery store and flip around a package to check out the ingredients or calorie count, take the opportunity to remember the contribution of Virginia Knauer, who served Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan in high-level consumer affairs positions.

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Stars, stripes – and scams

Between the picture of the President and Vice-President standing in front of the American flag and the references to government funds to stabilize the economy, it’s understandable that people who signed up for the service advertised on the Grant Connect website thought they were on their way to landing a grant.  Promoters even described Grant Connect as “a unique, consumer-friendly US government grant program that delivers all of the tools for the consumer to search multiple databases, write grant proposals, and deliver polished plans. . .”

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Reader discretion advised

It’s unusual for an FTC court document to come with a warning label, but the allegations contained in a recent debt collection case against an outfit doing business as Rumson, Bolling & Associates aren’t for the faint of heart.  According to the FTC, the defendants harassed debtors with abusive and profane language, including threats to harm their family members, kill their pets, and desecrate the bodies

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Kids, Food Marketing & Self-Regulation: The Latest

Following what’s going on with the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children?  Then you’ll want to read the FTC’s testimony yesterday at a joint hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

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(De)fault lines

When people get the latest software, app, or gizmo, it comes with default settings configured by the company responsible for the product. The FTC’s settlement with Frostwire, a developer of free peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software, raises interesting issues for industry. When can a company’s choice of default settings amount to an unfair practice under Section 5 of the FTC Act?

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Our favorite things

Like Maria in The Sound of Music, brown paper packages tied up with strings are a few of our favorite things. So it's no surprise that catalog and online shopping has become a time saving essential for millions of Americans.

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Borders and consumer privacy: The next chapter

When a retailer closes its doors, what’s the effect on privacy promises the company made to its customers?  The business community and bankruptcy bar have been watching with interest what’s going on in the bankruptcy of former book and video seller Borders.  Are you up on the latest developments?

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FTC 86s LOAN MOD TXTS

FTC watchers will remember Phillip A. Flora.  In the first case of its kind, the FTC alleged that Mr. Flora was a One-Man Message Machine, churning out a “mind-boggling” number of unsolicited commercial text messages pitching mortgage modification services.  How many did he send?  According to the FTC, <Carl Sagan voice> millions and millions </Carl Sagan voice>.

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The check's in the mail (really)

If you’re one of the businesses nationwide deceived by Oregon-based outfits that peddled questionable debit and credit card processing services, a refund check could be in the mail ranging from $100 to as much as $25,000 — depending on what you paid.

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FTC to Four Loko: Relabel and reseal

It’s not likely your favorite sommelier stocks it, but Four Loko — a supersized, high-alcohol, fruit-flavored, carbonated malt beverage — is a well-known drink in certain circles.

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