FTC Shuts Down Sellers of Amazon Stores for Violating ‘Biz-Op’ Rule

After its promulgation in 2012, I wrote a piece entitled, “Does the New FTC ‘Biz-Op’ Rule Cover Internet ‘Make-Money’ Schemes?” specifically asking about the marketing and sale of web stores. The text of the rule seemed to indicate that the answer was yes. Continue with this post…

Telemarketers Celebrate Rare Regulatory Win

For years, with every unwelcomed – and at times infuriating – robocall Americans received, the tide of consumer and regulatory backlash against the telemarketing industry steadily rose toward an inevitable crashing crescendo. The dam finally gave way in 2013, when the Federal Communications Commission, which enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), issued new regulations requiring autodialing telemarketers to have “prior express written consent” (“PEWC”) to pitch an offer to a consumer, even one with whom they’d recently done business. This meant that a seller or its telemarketing vendor, using an auto-dialer or artificial or prerecorded voice, had to get a signed written agreement (e-signature permitted) upfront from every single consumer they wanted to call or text, clearly authorizing the contact.   Continue with this post…

FTC Tightens the Noose Around Accomplices to False Advertising

For years now, the Federal Trade Commission has been expanding the wheel of liability for deceptive advertising practices outward, from the advertising merchant at the hub to the various entities on the spokes that make the wheel move.  As documented in this space, the campaign has ensnared numerous victims, from accomplices to deceptive telemarketing schemes who have explicit aiding and abetting liability under the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, to service providers in non-telemarketing cases for which, under the FTC Act, the legal basis for aiding and abetting liability is far less clear.  (See, e.g., “FTC’s ‘Duty of Inquiry’ for Non-Marketers Gets a Judicial Boost,” July 2013; “Does the FTC Have Legal Authority Over Affiliate Networks,” July 2014.)  Targets have ranged from affiliate marketers to affiliate marketing networks to payment processors, and even to a product owner who had no role in or authority over advertising for the product.  Online merchants, likewise, have settled charges of legal responsibility based on theories of agency or vicarious liability for the deceptive behavior of their affiliates. (See, e.g., “FTC Orders Super-Policing of Affiliates,” March 2012.) Continue with this post…

FDA Moves Against CBD Marketers Again. Is the FTC Next?

In “Negative Option Remains Prime Enforcement Target at Trump FTC”, I closed with this question after observing that overly bold continuity marketers were still in the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) crosshairs and playing a dangerous game: “Who will be next? Don’t be surprised if it’s an internet seller of controversial, cannabis-derived CBD, offers of which are exploding online and were the ‘talk of the show’ at Affiliate Summit” last August. Similarly, the most heavily attended session at last month’s ADSUM summit was a presentation on CBD marketing and the risks, as well as opportunities, it presents. Continue with this post…

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