Advertising Law News & Analysis

2 min

Venable partner Randy Shaheen, who also serves as an editor for The Antitrust Source, sat down with Laura Brett, the new director of the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) to get her thoughts on where NAD is and where it is headed in the coming year.

The Joint (And Several Liability) is Jumpin'

A recent appellate victory for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reestablishes that joint and several liability is alive and well, write Venable attorneys Len Gordon, Ellen Berge, and Chris Boone in a recent blog post. In FTC v. Universal Processing Services, the 11th Circuit affirmed the district court's imposition of joint and several liability on a payment processor for substantially assisting in the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) violations of its merchants.

Because the underlying rationale for the affirmation was that Universal's conduct amounted to a violation of the FTC Act, and that a violation of the FTC Act is subject to a host of equitable remedies, including disgorgement and joint and several liability, the decision implicates any conduct that could be considered a violation of the FTC Act. The implications of this decision, especially for payment processors, are significant, and the notion that a processor is responsible for all the volume it processes is potentially destabilizing to the processing industry.

California Tightens Automatic Renewal Requirements

When it comes to innovation, the subscription model industry has been known to think outside of the box. The recent surge in subscription popularity stems from its convenience and the growth of the Internet economy; however, it's not always clear to consumers how to unsubscribe from a service or view the exact price they'll pay after a discounted or free trial period. Hence this industry is a favorite enforcement target of the FTC, write Venable attorneys Ellen Berge and Damon Wright in the December edition of Response magazine.

California stands out as a leader in enforcement actions, so it comes as no surprise that the state has passed a new version of the automatic renewal laws.

From the Tool Kit:

Establishing a solid merchant processing relationship is a key back-end business process no marketer should neglect. In the most recent edition of the firm's Advertising Law Tool Kit, Venable partner Ellen Berge outlines a handful of best practices to minimize legal, regulatory, and business problems related to payment processing.