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A Blog About FTC regulations and happenings

Since the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) of 1925, the United States has had a policy preference for arbitration, even when an arbitration provision includes language barring class action litigation.  We saw this most recently in December 2015 when the Supreme Court reversed a decision by a California Court of Appeal to invalidate a class-arbitration waiver within a service agreement between DirecTV and its customers.  But not everyone thinks arbitration is so great a thing.  Encouraged by consumer groups and trial lawyers, federal regulators are pushing for limits on arbitration provisions in consumer contracts. At its core, the debate is about whether companies may compel consumers to arbitrate rather than litigate disputes and – perhaps more significantly – bar consumers from class action remedies as part of the arbitration requirement.  Critics of mandatory arbitration say that it restricts consumer redress and is tantamount to a deceptive trade practice because the arbitration provisions are usually contained in the “fine print” of a contract.  The new rules being proposed reportedly are... Read more

The Office of the Inspector General, which enforces Health and Human Services, has long been averse to referral services that don’t meet certain criteria.  To get protection against a possible enforcement action, the referral service can’t exclude anyone from participating in the service, and payments for referrals have to be reasonable and cannot be tied… Read More

On March 15, 2016, national retailer Lord & Taylor agreed to settle FTC charges that it “deceived consumers by paying for native advertisements.” The settlement is the first of its kind following the December 2015 guidance memorandum, Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses, issued by the FTC. Under the terms of the settlement, Lord &… Read More

Despite not being explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has firmly held that a right to privacy for all Americans is found in several amendments to the Constitution, with almost 100 years of case law providing precedent for many personal privacy rights that have become a cornerstone of American culture. However, in this… Read More

CFPB No-Action Letters Are No Help
March 1, 2016

CFPB No-Action Letters Are No Help

By: George Calhoun

In the age of handheld banking apps, private funds transfer systems, and digital currencies, ensuring that new products are fair to consumers and compliant with existing – and sometime archaic – regulations are difficult tasks. The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“CFPB”) recently finalized a new policy for providing “no-action letters” (“NALs”) to companies seeking… Read More

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons- Uploaded by NativeForeigner Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas proves to be one of the more interesting conventions to attend. 2016 did not disappoint: companies showed off cool innovations in displays, robotics, and integrated smart technology across the consumer products platform. Adding to the excitement at this year’s… Read More

  In 2015, Amazon filed suit against over 1,000 unnamed individuals for allegedly offering to sell fake online reviews (positive or negative) on Fiverr.com (“Fiverr”). The unnamed defendants offer to provide 5-star reviews and some defendants even encourage sellers to provide their own text to use in the review. In order to avoid detection, defendants… Read More

  Every e-mail user receives them, some days in numbers hitting the triple digit mark – those targeted, often annoying and unsolicited e-mails that clog our inboxes, originating from any of a multitude of establishments, including retailers, service establishments, and even our own social media.  Regulation over unwanted e-mails has been limited mostly to the… Read More

  Exploiting consumers and exploiting consumer data were popular themes in the FTC’s October 30th workshop on lead generation, “Follow the Lead.” The day-long workshop explored the mechanics of lead generation and its role in the online marketplace. With a focus on the lending and education spaces, panelists discussed the many layers of marketing involved… Read More

Jumping To Judgment on For-Profit Education
October 15, 2015

Jumping To Judgment on For-Profit Education

By: Nicole Kardell

  If you didn’t know any better, you might have gotten pretty fiery over for-profit education after reading one of the front page stories of Tuesday’s New York Times. The lengthy article titled “For-Profit Colleges Fail Standards, but Get Billions” is all about accusations of greedy institutions bilking taxpayers and taking advantage of students through… Read More

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