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A Blog About FTC regulations and happenings

In an unusual and little-noticed recent settlement, Google Inc. has agreed to pay a forfeiture of $500 million because it permitted Canadian pharmacies to advertise to United States consumers on its site using Google AdWords, resulting in the illegal sale of prescription drugs through online channels into the United States between 2003 and 2009. The U.S. Department of Justice announced this agreement on August 24, 2011, in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Attorney General of Rhode Island. The government said that this forfeiture represents the gross revenue received by Google as a result of Canadian pharmacies advertising through Google’s AdWords program, plus the gross revenue made by Canadian pharmacies from their sales to U.S. consumers. Although Canada has its own system of regulation of pharmaceuticals, Canadian pharmacies that ship drugs outside that nation are not subject to that system, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regards those shipments into the United States as generally illegal since they don’t comply with... Read more

If you advertise or sell over the Internet, be aware that changes are afoot at the FTC that will affect your business. The Commission is in the midst of revamping its Dot Com Disclosures, guidelines it prepared back in 2000 regarding online advertising. It issued a request for public comment on prospective revisions in late… Read More

The FTC recently issued the Mortgage Acts and Practices – Advertising Final Rule. This rule is the FTC’s response to a congressional directive to address unfair or deceptive acts in the mortgage loan industry. Briefly, the MAP Rule (1) gives the FTC and state authorities the ability to seek civil penalties for deceptive mortgage advertising,… Read More

The companies behind the ubiquitous “1 Tip for a Tiny Belly” ads are the most recent targets of a new FTC crackdown on online weight-loss ads that have conned millions of people. The ad seems innocent enough; it promises “1 Tip” to a svelte stomach. But this ad is actually the tip of something much… Read More

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities is taking on the Department of Education. The organization, which represents some 1500 for-profit education institutions, filed its second lawsuit this year to contest the agency’s new regulations aimed at career colleges. The ASPCU won one and lost two in the first suit, and is currently appealing… Read More

There’s been a lot of talk of late about the cost to industry of government regulation. The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, asserted at a job summit on Monday that recent government initiatives are “unjustified and uncalled for in a free society and a free economy” and are “killing American jobs.”… Read More

Business is booming at America’s for-profit colleges. With steady high unemployment rates, many of the job-hungry have opted to pursue higher or specialized degrees in an effort to make themselves more marketable. Pricy for-profit institutions, like the 400,000 strong University of Phoenix, are flourishing with this increased demand as students flock to their courses to… Read More

On May 25, 2011, a class action was filed against the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) in San Diego for intentionally misrepresenting employment data of recent alumni. The complaint states that in order to continue attracting students despite exorbitant law student debt and a depleted legal job market, TJSL has “adopted a practice of… Read More

An organization that represents online affiliates filed suit in federal court this month challenging the constitutionality of a new Illinois law targeted at collecting sales tax from Web retailers. Internet retail giant Amazon.com has threatened to cut off its marketing affiliates in Illinois in an effort to avoid paying the tax, and other companies are… Read More

When deciding whether to buy a product or service, how often do you check out product reviews or testimonials and how often does that research impact your purchasing decision? The FTC seems to consider consumer reviews and testimonials as pretty persuasive – most notably in the context of online write-ups. In 2009, the Commission revised… Read More

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