Consumer Protection Review

The latest legal updates in marketing, consumer products & consumer protection

Last month, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) launched the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DS-SRC), a new enforcement agency charged with policing the direct selling industry. The DS-SRC will be administered by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, which operates under the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Direct selling companies use independent sellers to market and sell products and services, typically outside of a fixed retail establishment. One form of direct selling that has received significant scrutiny from the Federal Trade…
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision on January 15, 2019 in a closely followed web accessibility case, Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, reaffirming Ninth Circuit precedent holding that companies whose online activities share a nexus with physical places of public accommodation may be held liable under the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to make their websites and apps accessible to persons with disabilities. Most notably, however, the…
New changes to the Massachusetts data breach notification statute emphasize timely and public disclosure of data security incidents, including requiring companies to disclose compliance with Massachusetts’ data security law. Among other more technical changes, H. 4806, effective April 11, increases the information that breached companies must provide to Massachusetts state agencies and provides for ways that information will be made public. Under the changes, when a breach is reported to the attorney general and…
On December 29, 2018, Google won summary judgment in Rivera v. Google, a privacy class action alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The case involved “face grouping,” a feature that enables Google Photos to automatically sort and group the photographs in a user’s private account based on visual similarities between the images of faces in the photos. The court held that any alleged collection of “biometric information” or “biometric identifiers” stemming…
The Ninth Circuit recently denied a motion for rehearing en banc in Marks v. Crunch, leaving in place a Ninth Circuit decision that broadly defines “automated telephone dialing system” (“autodialer”) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The decision conflicts with decisions from other circuits.  And in the New Year, the FCC is expected to issue its own new interpretation of the term “autodialer” under the TCPA. Amidst this uncertainty, companies should proceed cautiously…
It’s been a busy year in consumer protection law and during this holiday season, we’re taking stock of the past year and looking ahead to what’s next.  In 2018, we saw many class actions related to pricing practices, scrutiny of Made in USA claims, continued growth in popularity and the evolution of influencers (CGI influencers!), changes to automatic renewal laws, and a new slate of FTC Commissioners. In 2019, we…
In July, the California legislature approved a new consumer privacy law that represents one of the most significant pieces of privacy legislation ever passed in the United States. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), set to take effect in 2020, creates a host of obligations for businesses that collect personal information about consumers, households, or devices in California and meet certain threshold criteria. The CCPA imposes transparency obligations and requires businesses to provide…
On September 26, 2018, Christine S. Wilson was sworn in as a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission into the seat previously held by Maureen Ohlhausen.  Commissioner Wilson most recently held a senior legal role at Delta Airlines, previously was an antitrust partner at two large law firms, and during the George W. Bush Administration served as Chief of Staff to FTC Chairman Timothy Muris. With the addition of Commissioner Wilson, the FTC now has…
As consumers shift towards “organic,” “natural,” and “clean” foods for themselves and their families, they are also making similar purchasing decisions when it comes to pet food. However, as sales of “premium” pet food have increased in recent years, so has the number of consumer class action lawsuits filed against pet food manufacturers, specifically those involving claims that marketing and labeling pet foods as “natural” is false and misleading when they contain artificial ingredients, synthetic…
A customer who is blind has sued Five Guys Enterprises in the Southern District of California, claiming that he could not access the Freestyle Coca-Cola soda machine in a Five Guys restaurant.  The parties each filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether Five Guys violated the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), California’s Unruh Act and California’s Disabled Person Act (DPA) when its employees did not offer to help the customer use…