February 10, 2023

Advertising Law News and Analysis

3 min

CFPB Warns Digital Mortgage Comparison-Shopping Platforms About Referral Fees and Pay-to-Play Advertising

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has moved to curb digital mortgage comparison-shopping platforms from receiving referral fees, issuing an advisory opinion that outlines how companies violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act when "they steer shoppers to lenders by using pay-to-play tactics rather than providing shoppers with comprehensive and objective information."

Eleventh Circuit Says FTC Can Seek Asset Freezes and Receivership Under Section 19

As the dust settles from the Supreme Court's decision in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC, 141 S. Ct. 1341 (2021), which gutted the Federal Trade Commission's authority to obtain equitable monetary relief in court, the contours of the FTC's remedial authority continue to be shaped by the lower courts.

The CFPB Joins the FTC on Negative Option Marketing and Dark Patterns in New Circular

When it comes to negative options, the CFPB has strong opinions. As demonstrated in its new circular, these opinions generally align with those of the Federal Trade Commission, which has repeatedly targeted trial offers, subscription sales, and other programs involving recurring charges for enforcement. The circular reaffirms the CFPB's focus—shared with the FTC—on combating digital dark patterns used to engage in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, especially when those techniques are combined with negative option marketing.

FTC Brings the Heat on Pyrex Manufacturer's "Made in USA" Claims for Products Made in China

The Federal Trade Commission announced it had issued a complaint and proposed consent order against Instant Brands LLC for allegedly marketing products as "Made in the USA," when they were actually made in China. Instant Brands, which manufactures Pyrex-brand products that include a range of mostly glass baking and cooking accessories, has already agreed to the settlement, which requires a payment of a monetary judgment of $129,416.

Comments and Challenges Welcome: FTC Proposes New Rule to Ban Non-Compete Agreements with Employees, Independent Contractors, and Volunteers

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission—the federal agency tasked with protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices and enforcing antitrust laws—proposed a rule that, if enacted, will prohibit the use of non-compete clauses in agreements by employers with their employees, independent contractors, or volunteers in almost all circumstances. This rule would apply to numerous, but not all, nonprofit organizations.

Fintech Companies Might Need to Register with CFPB Under Proposed Rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule to establish a public registry of terms and conditions in form contracts that purport to waive or limit consumer rights and protections. The rule would require supervised nonbanks to register with the CFPB if their contractual terms and conditions include provisions seeking to restrict certain consumer rights or to waive any constitutional, statutory, or common law legal protection, right, or defense.

Telemarketing Lead Generators: How Many "Marketing Partners" Is Too Many?

For years, lead generators have obtained telephone numbers for their clients to call by obtaining the consumer's consent to receive calls from certain entities specifically identified by the lead generator. A typical model uses language that asks for the consumer's consent, via a checkbox or otherwise, to receive marketing calls from a few of the lead generator's marketing partners named in the consent request.

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