July 2013

FTC and Colorado AG: Infomercial pitchman's promissory promises not premised on truth

According to the ubiquitous infomercials, to rake in the big bucks with Russell Dalbey’s “wealth-building” programs, all you had to do was “Find ‘Em,” “List ‘Em,” and “Make Money" — the “‘Em” being seller-financed promissory notes.  The pitch was convincing to the close to one million people who bought the programs.  But according to the FTC and Colorado AG, the defendants’ claims of quick and easy money were deceptive.

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Business buyer beware

As a small business person, you’re looking for ways to keep your credit and debit card processing costs down.  So when someone calls claiming to be associated with your current card processor, Visa or MasterCard, or your bank and promises big savings, of course you’d be all ears.  But according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the deceptive practices of one processing outfit have given new meaning to the word “swipe.”

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New COPPA FAQs: You asked, we answered

If you’re the COPPA cop for your company or clients, you know that Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions (A Guide For Business And Parents And Small Entity Compliance Guide) – close friends call ‘em The FAQs – are an indispensable resource.  When FTC staff revised the FAQs a few months ago to reflect changes to COPPA that took effect July 1, 2013, we promised to update them as questions arose.  And we’re making good on that promise.

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FTC to mattress companies: Don't pad your green claims

If you or your clients make environmental marketing claims, don’t sleep on three actions the FTC just announced against companies that sell mattresses.  What's more, the pleadings in one case offer insights into a course of conduct advertisers should avoid in the use of seals and certifications.

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It'll all come out in the wash

Maybe you can’t tell from looking at us, but the FTC is very label-conscious.  No, not in that red carpet “Who are you wearing?” way.  We’re more concerned that apparel and other products covered by the Care Labeling Rule give consumers accurate cleaning instructions.  Fashionistas, take note because the FTC just announced a one-day roundtable on October 1, 2013, to talk over proposed changes to the Rule.

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Magistrate Judge's finding: Payday lenders covered by FTC Act even if affiliated with American Indian Tribes

In an FTC action challenging allegedly illegal business practices by a payday loan operation affiliated with American Indian Tribes, a United States Magistrate Judge just issued a report and recommendation on the scope of the FTC Act.  Attorneys will want to give the order a careful read, but here’s the need-to-know nugget:  Over the defendants’ vigorous opposition, the Magistrate Judge concluded that the FTC Act “gives the FTC the authority to bring suit against Indian Tribes, arms of Indian Tribes, and employees

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We've got your number

Most people are familiar with labels in clothing and other textile products that name the fabric and explain how to clean it.  But look a little closer and you may spot the prefix RN followed by a series of digits.  If you’re in the textile business, those are important numbers to know.

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Itchy and Scratchy

Two things that bug us:  1) head lice, bed bugs, and other creepy crawlies that score off the charts on the eeww-ometer; and 2) companies that make deceptive claims that their products can treat and prevent infestations.  Settlements the FTC just announced with the marketers of the BEST Yet! line of cedar oil-based products reminds companies of the importance of backing up claims with sound science.

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The truth is out there

Earlier this week was the 66th anniversary of the so-called Roswell UFO incident.  No, Mulder and Scully aren't on temporary assignment to the FTC and we don’t have any “now it can be told” government news on the subject.  But we can offer insights into what happening on MARS:  the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule.  As X Files fans would say, "The truth is out there," but one place it appears to be lacking is in promotions making overhyped promises to homeowners in financial trouble.

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Saluting Military Consumer Protection Day

Members of the military face unique consumer protection challenges.  For example, when the brakes go or the basement floods, it’s not easy to find trustworthy local businesses if you’re new in town.  And deployments, TDYs, and relocations can make it tougher to spot the early signs of identity theft.  So what can your business do to make things easier for military families?

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