FTC Updates from March 2015

Jennie Scholick Apr 7, 2015

March was a big month in FTC developments! We give our quick take on some of those most relevant to our readers.

FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Creates Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI)

At the end of March, the FTC announced that they were opening an Office of Technology Research and Investigation. Emerging out of the Mobile Technology Unit (MTU), the OTRI will have jurisdiction over investigative research into technology issues concerning privacy, data security, payment methods, big data, and the Internet of Things.

They are also hiring, so if you’re looking for a job that puts you on the cutting edge of consumer protection, this might be your gig!

Thanks to our friend Richard Newman, guest blogger and internet lawyer extraordinaire, for drawing our attention to this development.

Payday Lenders Facing Scrutiny from the FTC and the CFPB

This month has seen payday and other high-interest lenders come under increased scrutiny from a variety of regulatory bodies. Performance Marketing Insider reported last week that the FTC has filed a case against Sequoia One, LLC and Gen X Marketing Group, LLC for violations of Section 5 of the FTC Act. The FTC alleges that these companies improperly sold payday loan application leads without appropriate disclaimers to consumers.

At the same time, the CFPB turned its attention to payday lenders when it released a press release, factsheet and outline of the proposals it is considering as it prepares to convene a small business review panel for the industry. CFBP Monitor has a great overview of these proposals and they will be tracking this story as it develops.

FTC Will Hold Advertisers Accountable for Actions Made by Affiliate Marketers

A federal court has sided with the FTC in a suit against LeanSpa, LLC and LeadClick Media that holds the advertisers responsible for the actions of their affiliate marketers and requires them to return $11.9 million to consumers. The court upheld the FTC’s claim that LeadClick violated Section 5 of the FTC Act when its affiliates used “fake news sites” to promote products online. While LeadClick has maintained that they have no control over these actions, the court stated that “no reasonable jury could deny” that they “both participated in, and had the authority to control, the affiliate marketers conduct in so far as it related to the fake news sites.” Both Performance Marketing Insider and Technology Law Source have written more in-depth analyses of this decision.

What big news did we miss this month? Let us know in the comments below or drop us a line at BrandVerity!

Topics: Marketing Compliance

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