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

On March 22, the CFPB issued Compliance Bulletin 2022-05 regarding potentially illegal practices related to consumer reviews.  The guidance states that consumer reviews impact company revenue and help consumers choose between financial providers, which can in turn “incentivize dishonest market participants to attempt to manipulate the review process, rather than compete based on the value of their services, which can frustrate a competitive marketplace.”
Continue Reading CFPB Flexes UDAAP Muscle Over Contractual “Gag” Clauses and Fake Consumer Reviews

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

New York has enacted a sweeping law that regulates automatic renewal programs (subscriptions) modeled after California’s automatic renewal law.

The law impacts retailers and brands that offer membership and other subscription-based business models, including loyalty programs and rewards programs.
Continue Reading New York Passes Wide-Ranging Automatic Renewal (Subscription Model) Law

Women often pay more than men for similar goods and services.  A shampoo for men may be nearly identical in chemical makeup to a shampoo for women, but the woman will pay more.  This phenomenon is referred to as the “pink tax” – products marketed to women cost more than their counterparts marketed to men.  Recent data analyzing toys, clothing, personal care products and home health products shows that: (1) products targeted at women are higher-priced than those targeted at men 42% of the time; and (2) of those items more expensive for women, the prices are an average of 7% higher.[1]  The pink tax thus places a direct cost on individuals who purchase products marketed to women.
Continue Reading NY’s Gendered Pricing Law: Will It Curb the Pink Tax

In prior posts (here and here), we raised questions that companies may want to ask when evaluating their arbitration clauses and making changes to them.  In this third installment, we look at what companies should be doing to ensure that they can present proof of their arbitration agreements if ever required to do so in court.  Your company may have a perfect arbitration clause, but if a customer claims never to have signed the arbitration agreement or not to have seen the website providing notice of the terms and conditions, you will have to present evidence that the customer is wrong.
Continue Reading Avoiding Formation Challenges To Your Arbitration Clause With Consumers