FTC Commissioners Sworn In (Finally)

by Bill McClellan on May 17, 2018 3:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, Government Relations

It is finally official. For the first time since 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is completely filled out. On behalf of ERA and the direct response community, please join in welcoming the new Commissioners into office. We wish you great success in your roles to ensure the consumer protection mandate of the Commission.

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Fair Trade: Why Marketers Should Heed Federal Warranty Laws

by Lesley Fair on May 9, 2018 3:00:00 AM FTC, Direct Response, Marketing, Consumer

“But I’d never buy a ____ if I couldn’t check it out in person first.” To win over a skeptical segment of the buying public, direct-to-consumer retailers have spent decades successfully overcoming that hurdle. Industry members have used accurate product demonstrations, representative testimonials, in-depth documentation and other methods for building shoppers’ confidence.

Another way many direct response marketers signal their intention to stand by what they sell is by offering warranties — sometimes described as a promise that a product will meet a specified level of performance over a particular period of time.
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ERA Members Speak Up about ERA/ERSP Government Affairs Fly-In

by Vi Paynich on Apr 17, 2018 3:00:00 AM ERSP, FTC, Self Regulation, DRTV, Government Relations, Direct Response

Is the ERA/ERSP Government Affairs Fly-In vital to your direct response marketing business? The answer should be a decisive yes! Why? The Fly-In shines a spotlight on the most critical issues affecting the industry today and puts you in front of the government regulators and Congressional leaders whose decisions could have a dramatic impact on current and future legislation.

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Fair Trade: Do Your ‘Made in USA’ Claims Pass Muster?

by Lesley Fair on Apr 4, 2018 3:00:00 AM FTC, Direct Response, Marketing, Consumer

Features, price, service, selection? When competitors offer similar items, what’s the magic that turns a browser into a buyer? According to market research, many shoppers say that a selling point that can seal the deal is when one of the products is “Made in the USA.” If you state on your products or packaging, in ads, on your website or in social media that your merchandise is American-made, are you complying with the Federal Trade Commission’s established standards?

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Full Disclosure: What You Need to Know

by Bill McClellan on Jun 8, 2017 2:17:12 PM FTC, Self Regulation

One of our featured speakers at this year’s Government Affairs Fly-In was the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Frank Gorman, assistant director, Division of Enforcement. Gorman supervises compliance investigations and enforcement litigation and previously served as the chief of the FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit.

During Gorman’s presentation, he stressed the importance of being responsive to your customer base and making it easy for customers to cancel your service. Ever try to get rid of a service that you didn’t realize you signed up for and it’s impossible? Well, that company has made a serious error in judgment.

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Got Robocalls?

by Bill McClellan on May 31, 2017 9:28:27 AM FTC, Consumer

Our first featured speaker at the Government Affairs Fly-In, Lois Greisman, was incredible and I’m so glad she kicked off our two day conference. As associate director, she currently heads the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Marketing Practices as part of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Under Greisman’s management, Marketing Practices leads the FTC’s law enforcement initiatives tackling telemarketing fraud (including Do Not Call enforcement), fraudulent investment opportunity schemes, and internet frauds, with particular focus on challenges posed by new technologies and convergence issues.

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The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching Direct Response Marketers

by Bill McClellan on May 17, 2017 9:36:05 AM FTC, Digital Marketing, Direct Response

Recently, I told you "A Story about “Big Luther” Strange III" to encourage you to come to this year’s GA Fly-In & ERSP Summit. Later, I reported on the "Top 5 Reasons" you should make the trip. 

While re-reading these top five reasons, I realized I left out one of the most important reasons you should attend this year.

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Will Trump’s Cybersecurity Czar Cost Direct Response?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 1, 2017 3:00:00 PM FTC, Government Relations

Greetings from Puerto Rico! I am currently conferencing here in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton for ERA’s signature Great Ideas Summit 2017.  If you couldn’t make the trip we are sending you good vibes and sunshine and hope you can be with us next time.

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Why We Love The Federal Trade Commission (And You Should, Too!)

by Bill McClellan on Jan 11, 2017 2:00:00 PM Advocacy, FTC, Government Relations

It’s been a “Yuge” year so far.

Last week I shared a “beautiful” cheat sheet to help Direct Response Marketers survive the Trump era and this week I’ve got something better.

What you might ask?

Well the only thing that can trump that would be the inside scoop straight from the FTC. That’s why I reached out to my friend and long-time FTC insider Lesley Fair.  She agreed to visit with ERA’s Government Affairs Committee to tell us “what’s really going on” so you can do a safety dance. 

Thankfully the FTC agreed to the visit as well. That’s why we love the Federal Trade Commission (and you should, too!).

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The Ultimate Direct Response Cheat Sheet for the Trump Era

by Bill McClellan on Jan 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM ERSP, FTC, Government Relations

Hello 2017!

It’s nice to finally meet you after all the bumpy election action we saw last year.  I am expecting 2017 to be “Yuge”!

No really, the Trump administration is just getting started with all its ideas and policies.  In the signature words of our President Elect “we have to figure out what’s going on."

In order to have a smooth transition through these changes, I have prepared this “beautiful” Direct Response cheat sheet just for you.  As we now say in Washington, it’s “Bigly” (or “Big League” depending on whom you ask).

So 2017 let’s do this!   

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The Consumer Protection Round-Up!

by Bill McClellan on Nov 11, 2016 1:00:00 PM ERSP, FTC, Class Actions, State Ag's, CARU


Last July the ERA Government Affairs Committee held a webinar that covered important information regarding consumer protection. 

For those unable to attend the live webinar, the Government Affairs Committee is pleased to share the recording for your convenience.

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Responding to a data breach?

by Lisa Weintraub Schifferle on Oct 26, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC

You suspect that your business experienced a data breach. Maybe an employee lost a laptop, or a hacker got into your customer database, or information was inadvertently posted on your website. Whatever happened, you’re probably wondering what to do next.

The FTC’s new Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business outlines the steps to take and whom to contact. Here’s a glimpse of what’s inside.

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FTC Releases Staff Perspectives on Lead Generation

by Jonathan Pompan and Ellen Berge on Oct 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy, FTC, Support Services

For many years, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has been recognized as an effective means to self-regulation by industry members, regulators, and legislators. Now, the program that helps to build consumer confidence in advertising has gained recognition for its recent expansion into covering lead generation marketing by the staff of the FTC.

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Is there a difference between 'natural' and 'all natural'? FTC says yes

by Ivan Wasserman on Aug 10, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC

I am often asked: “Legally, is there a difference between claiming that a product is "natural" as opposed to "all natural" or "100 percent natural"? While I have done my best to answer that question without any guidance from the government, we finally know what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks—at least for now.

As I previously reported, in April the FTC announced that it had settled four cases against personal care companies that claimed their products were “all natural” or “100 percent natural” even though they contained synthetic chemicals.

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What's Up In DRTV? Manatt Knows!

by Bill McClellan on Jul 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM FTC, Self Regulation, DRTV


There is always a lot going on in the DRTV world. You know as well as I that it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we recently asked our friends at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, to brief ERA’s Government Affairs Committee about what has been happening the last couple of months.

The Manatt team of Marc Roth, La Toya Sutton, Lauren Aronson, and Holly Melton covered a ton of ground.

They Updated On The:

  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • State Attorneys General
  • ERSP Self-Regulation
  • Class Actions
  • Website Terms of Use
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Key Government Leaders to Speak at ERSP Summit & ERA GA Fly-In

by Vi Paynich on Apr 22, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, Self Regulation

ERA is gearing up for another exciting ERSP Summit and Government Affairs Fly-In on May 24-25 in Washington, D.C., at SunTrust Headquarters. This is an opportunity for the direct response marketing industry to come together for a two-day event to get up to speed with what’s happening in today’s regulatory climate, and advocate for direct-to-consumer marketing on the Hill.

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The FTC Brings Down the Avalanche

by Len Gordon on Apr 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, Self Regulation

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) frequently settles its cases through suspended judgments, where the full amount of the judgment is suspended based on the defendant’s ability to pay. A recent case highlights the risks companies and individuals face if they fail to adequately disclose their assets to the FTC during settlement discussions.

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ERSP: 2015 in Review

by Jessica Grodzki on Jan 25, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC

In 2015, in addition to its case work, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) worked towards creating greater visibility for the program and continued to seek out new opportunities for advertising self-regulation.

Last year, ERSP attended several events and spoke on webinars, including LeadsCon NY, the Republican Attorneys General Association’s ERC Meeting, Conference of Western Attorneys General, Follow the Lead: An FTC Workshop on Lead Generation, the ERA’s Government Affairs Committee, ERA’s Great Ideas Summit and D2C Convention, and Social Media Week NYC.

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[DRTV 2015] Content Marketing & Disclosures

by Bill McClellan on Jun 25, 2015 3:52:00 PM FTC

It's no secret that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has keyed in on content marketing, labeling, and disclosures in 2015. The direct response industry is abuzz with behind-the-scenes chatter, giving those in the loop a heads up to pay attention. Often actions by the government can be confusing and not make much sense at first. It's only when you take a closer look that the picture becomes clear.

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Warranties Keeping You Up at Night? Ask BMW

by Kevin Else on Apr 10, 2015 3:00:00 AM FTC, DRTV

On March 19th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement with BMW of North America LLC over charges “ that its MINI Division violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by telling consumers that BMW would void their warranty unless they used MINI parts and MINI dealers to perform maintenance and repair work.

What BMW did violated the restriction on “Tie-In Sales” provisions of the Act. The Act does not permit a warrantor to condition “ a warranty on the consumer’s using, in connection with the warranted product, an article or a service (other than an article or a service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) identified by brand, trade, or corporate name.
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Is a Higher Standard of Transparency the Next Big Thing for DRTV?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 13, 2015 3:00:00 AM FTC

Last week, the FTC and NY State office of Attorney General reached a settlement agreement with the Allstar Products Group to resolve a compliance inquiry.

In an effort to enhance the consumer ordering and customer service experience, the company has agreed to provide multiple opportunities for customers to confirm their orders before placing them and to clarify ordering and return procedures.

Will this settlement serve as a Direct Response wake-up call?

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"I Don't Speak For The FTC" - DRTV Listener Advisory

by Bill McClellan on Jan 13, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, DRTV

If you are working on a DRTV campaign, stop right now and LISTEN TO THIS. It's a behind-the-scenes recording of Senior FTC Attorney Leslie Fair.

While she doesn't speak for the FTC, she is an FTC insider. She takes a look at direct response marketing practices—the ones that caught her eye in 2014. 

The opinions she expresses are her own, so it skips the usual legalese.

She just talks about what is REALLY going on at the FTC.  


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Where Will "Operation Full Disclosure” Be 1 Year From Now? The FTC briefs ERA

by Bill McClellan on Dec 7, 2014 8:00:00 PM Advocacy, FTC

On September 23rd the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its Operation “Full Disclosure” targeting more than 60 National Advertisers for failure to make adequate disclosures in their television and print ads. 

We are pleased to announce that Michael Ostheimer from the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Advertising Practices will join ERA’s Government Affairs Committee call as a special guest speaker exploring this FTC action. 

The call is scheduled for Thursday, December 11th, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. EST. 

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ERSP Offers Marketers Copy Review Service

by Leanne Gabinelli on Nov 17, 2014 8:00:00 PM ERSP, Advocacy, FTC

ERSP is excited to announce its newest product offering, the ERSP Copy Review. The ERSP Copy Review service offers marketers the opportunity to have ERSP, a third-party self-regulatory organization, review print, broadcast, radio, and online advertising.
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FTC Maintains Current Negative Option Rule Guidance After ERA Input

by Bill McClellan on Jul 25, 2014 1:45:00 PM Advocacy, FTC

Back in 2009, the Federal Trade Commission sought comments on the Negative Option Rule as part of the agency's systematic review of its rules and guidance.   At the time, ERA participated in proceeding and filed comments on your behalf.    

We are pleased to report that earlier today the FTC announced that it will keep the current form of its Negative Option Rule.  The Commission vote closing the review was 5-0.  

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.