Williams-Sonoma, Inc., has agreed to pay $1 million to the FTC in settlement of claims that the home furnishing company made false and unsubstantiated representations that certain products were made in the United States. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Williams-Sonoma—also doing business as Pottery Barn, West Elm, Rejuvenation, Outward, Mark & Graham and other brands—deceptively claimed that the company’s Goldtouch Bakeware products, Rejuvenation-branded products and Pottery Barn Teen- and Pottery Barn Kids-branded upholstered furniture were made in the USA. In reality, many of these products were wholly imported or contained significant imported materials.
Continue Reading Home Furnishings Retailer to Pay FTC $1 Million to Settle “Made in the USA” Claims

On March 6, 2020, the FTC announced a settlement with Teami, LLC and its owners over allegations that the company falsely promoted its Teami brand tea products as capable of curing serious health conditions and causing significant weight loss, supported by endorsements by well-known social media influencers who did not adequately disclose that they were being paid to promote their products.
Continue Reading FTC targets Teami’s Unsupported Health Claims and Use of Social Media Influencers

On February 12, 2020, the FTC announced its intention to review its Endorsement Guides (formally known as the “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”). These guides, first enacted in 1980 and revised in 2009, provide guidance to businesses, influencers and endorsers on how to make sure endorsements or testimonials abide by the requirements of the FTC Act. While advisory in nature, the Commission can take action under the FTC Act if an endorsement or testimonial is inconsistent with the Guides.
Continue Reading With an Eye on Social Media Platforms and Influencer Marketing, the FTC Seeks Public Comment on Endorsement Guides

On February 5, 2020, the FTC announced two settlements totaling nearly $3.4 million against Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute, LLC and their principals for claims made to older adults that the “ReJuvenation” pill was an “anti-aging wonder drug.” For example, they represented that the pill could boost HGH levels and add stem cells to the body, thereby repairing age, cell, and heart attack damage; reversing deafness or blindness; and reversing damage from any disease, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Crohn’s disease.
Continue Reading FTC Ends Fountain of Youth Claims by Sellers of ReJuvenation Pills

On February 3, 2020, the FTC announced a $350,000 settlement with Shop Tutors Inc., d/b/a LendEDU, a website that ranks and rates consumer financial products such as student and personal loans. The FTC’s complaint alleged that LendEDU and its principals violated the FTC Act by misleading consumers into believing that their website offered consumers “objective,” “accurate” and “unbiased” information, despite the fact that the company was alleged to be selling rankings and ratings to the highest bidder.
Continue Reading FTC Stops Online Loan Comparison Service From Pay-to-Play Rankings and Falsifying Reviews

On December 5, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $4.1 million settlement against A.S. Research, the marketer of the dietary supplement Synovia. The Commission alleged that ASR mislead consumers by purporting Synovia could dramatically reduce or cure chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling caused by arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and muscular atrophy.
Continue Reading FTC Exacts $4.1 Million Settlement from Supplement Marketer over Shaky Arthritis Treatment Claims

New Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) reporting requirements took effect September 25, 2019. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently made changes to the HSR form. Retail clients exploring a merger or acquisition should be aware that the FTC requires updated codes for Item 5 of the HSR form. Clients will need to provide 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and 10-digit North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) codes when reporting manufacturing revenues. The FTC will require 2017 NAICS codes for reporting non-manufacturing revenues.
Continue Reading Hart-Scott-Rodino Changes

As reported on the Blockchain Legal Resource Blog on August 27, 2019, The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the promoters of chain-based cryptocurrency schemes—Thomas Dluca, Louis Gatto, Eric Pinkston and Scott Chandler—in which the defendants promised recruits big rewards in exchange for a small payment of bitcoin or Litecoin.
Continue Reading FTC Permanently Bans Operators of Cryptocurrency MLM

The Federal Trade Commission has stepped up enforcement of the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (CRFA) which prohibits companies from barring honest consumer reviews of their products and services. While enforcement of the CRFA was initially slow, that changed this year.
Continue Reading Thinking About Restricting Online Reviews? FTC: Think Again

The FTC and the FDA jointly sent warning letters to four manufacturers of flavored e-liquid products, citing the absence of particular disclosures in paid social media endorsements as potentially in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the FTC Act.
Continue Reading FTC and FDA Warn e-Liquid Companies to Disclose Hazards and Connections