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Having the Federal Trade Commission – or any other government agency – initiate an action against you or your company may seem like very bad news. But it can get much worse. Sometimes, what starts as a civil action by a government regulator can culminate in jail time. This is the hard lesson learned by Donald Barrett, founder and president of iTV Direct, an infomercial company. Barrett and iTV Direct came under fire by both the Food and Drug Administration and the FTC in 2004 for marketing a purported health product, Supreme Greens. Barrett’s company had marketed the product with some pretty bold claims, such as that the product could prevent major health problems including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease. The FDA initially issued a warning letter to the company for marketing a non-licensed drug with false and misleading claims. The FDA letter was quickly followed by an FTC lawsuit for deceptive advertising, among other charges. Not only were the assets of the defendants (Barrett, his company and additional related... Read more

There’s no question that the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to prevent deceptive and unfair trade practices, such as false or misleading claims directed at consumers. Somehow, however, that authority has morphed into a much broader reach than one would have expected on the basis of common sense. We’ve written extensively about such jurisdictional… Read More

The FTC recently filed suit against ten operations with websites that market acai berry weight loss products. The FTC alleged that the companies’ websites – which look like news websites – deceived consumers who thought the sites were credible journalistic outlets as opposed to elaborate marketing schemes. According to the FTC, the sites contained titles… Read More

A new Illinois law purporting to preserve and create jobs in the state may soon be putting Illinois affiliates out of business. Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a law requiring online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made in Illinois, on the premise that the companies have a presence in the state due to… Read More

On April 1, 2011, David Deitch started work as a partner at the Ifrah Law Firm. David is an experienced trial lawyer and former Department of Justice counterterrorism prosecutor. Because he will now be a regular contributor to this blog, the editor of FTC Beat conducted this brief interview to introduce David to our readers…. Read More

The FTC recently entered into an agreement with Internet advertising company Chitika, Inc., settling charges that the company deceptively tracked consumers’ online activities. At issue in the FTC’s complaint was that Chitika’s privacy policy gave consumers the ability to opt out of being tracked by the company’s use of online “cookies,” but that – unbeknownst… Read More

 Spam seems to be everywhere these days, and it has now invaded your wireless handheld.  Last month, the Federal Trade Commission filed its first lawsuit ever against an alleged perpetrator of “spam texting” – the practice of sending unsolicited commercial text messages to a large number of people.  The FTC is alleging that Phillip Flora… Read More

This month, the Federal Trade Commission released its list of the top ten consumer complaints received by the agency in 2010. This list represents a good indication of some of the areas toward which the FTC may direct its resources and increase its scrutiny. For the 11th year in a row, identity theft was the… Read More

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March 27, 2011

Ifrah Law’s Blog Wrap-Up, March 9-23

By: Ifrah Law

This is the fourth of a regular series of posts that summarize and wrap up our latest thoughts that have appeared recently on Ifrah Law’s blogs. 1. Proposed Gaming Bill Could Make Nevada First to Legalize Online Poker Nevada, long an innovator in the gambling arena, may soon take another major step by becoming the first… Read More

The Pennsylvania Attorney General filed a consumer protection lawsuit last month against Zoommania, LLC, a Philadelphia-based Internet electronics store, for a bait-and-switch scheme the company allegedly employed in online sales and for its creation of new websites to avoid negative customer feedback resulting from the scheme. The complaint, which seeks restitution for consumers, alleges that… Read More

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