The FTC recently sent warning letters to more than 60 companies that failed to make adequate disclosures in TV and print advertisements, according to the commission. “Operation Full Disclosure” (OFD) is the FTC’s latest initiative to ensure companies comply with federal law and do not mislead consumers.
OFD focuses on fine print disclosures that contain material information, and urges companies to review advertisements to ensure clear and conspicuous consumer disclosures. To meet the “clear and conspicuous” standard, the FTC advises that disclosures should use clear and unambiguous language that stands out in advertisements so important information is easily noticed. Many inadequate disclosures cited by the FTC, include inadequate disclosure of conditions required to obtain certain pricing, inadequate disclosures regarding an automatic billing feature, or inadequate disclosures explaining exceptions or limitations.
The letters were directed to companies representing a wide range of industries, and including both English and Spanish language advertising as well. The FTC is not disclosing the target companies of OFD at this time.
Although OFD does not specifically target payments, the payments industry should take note of the FTC’s initiative, and review all disclosures (in advertisements and otherwise) to ensure clear and conspicuous consumer disclosures, especially in light of the agency’s recent efforts to address online disclosures and mobile platforms.
More information may be found here.