On June 30, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (“ICPEN”)—an international network of more than 60 consumer protection agencies—updated its website. Although seemingly minor, this update represents ICPEN’s continued efforts to coordinate resolution of international consumer protection issues.
For consumers, the ICPEN website is both informative and action-based. It now includes information about international scams, safe online shopping, and how to file a complaint in cross-border disputes, among other things. ICPEN’s complaint site—www.econsumer.gov—is available in eight languages (English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish). For ICPEN (and the FTC), the website is a mechanism by which global consumer protection agencies can securely communicate about emerging fraudulent activities and share intelligence.
For the advertising industry, this announcement serves as a reminder that consumers are protected globally and that the FTC is tapped into a network of international enforcement agencies that are policing deceptive and unfair business practices. As enforcement agencies bolster their resources, the need for global compliance with advertising and marketing laws similarly increases.