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Federal Trade Commission Spin Can Kill Your Business

By Internet Lawyer

The Federal Trade Commission is skilled at public relations and “protecting consumers” is a newsworthy event. This means that a trial or a consent order isn’t the end of your ordeal.

Instead, a FTC press release will be issued and perhaps a press conference held that will spin what happened in a very favorable light for the FTC at your expense.

Your legal counsel can sometimes mitigate the damages but that depends in part on whether the Federal Trade Commission is using you to send a warning to others in your industry. Your public relations consultant can counter-spin the media but some of the mud thrown your way will probably stick.

What you have done by accident may make you look like Scrooge preying upon the poor, the sick, and the elderly by the time you read the stories online or in a newspaper.

If restitution or other monetary payments are required as part of the Federal Trade Commission settlement, that amount may be inflated in the press coverage.

This can cause a “blood in the water” reaction.

Federal Trade Commission Investigations

By Internet Lawyer

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) uses three primary tactics to investigate your Internet marketing efforts: (1) Undercover Operations; (2) Civil Investigative Demands; and (3) Informal Inquiries.

Undercover Operations

Also known as a “sting,” an FTC undercover operation typically involves its employees posing as clients and buying your products and/or services offered via the Internet.

Unlike your normal client, the goal of the undercover operative isn’t to obtain what you sell. It is to decide if you’ve broken the law. How you conduct business in these particular transactions will likely determine whether or not the Federal Trade Commission decides to pursue a case against you.

Civil Investigative Demands

A Civil Investigative Demand (CID) is like a subpoena on steroids. Unlike a sting operation, the FTC is letting you know that you’re being targeted for investigation.

If you receive a CID, it may require you to answer written questions, produce a lot of documents, create written reports, and/or testify. To fight a CID, you have to go to federal court.

Informal Inquiries

The only thing “informal” about these types of communications with the Federal Trade Commission is that the requests are polite…but you’re still under the gun. Whether meeting face-to-face or talking by telephone, the FTC is in fact investigating you. If you refuse to cooperate, expect a CID to issue demanding you turn over the same documents, etc. that were “informally” requested.

How The Federal Trade Commission Can Destroy Your Online Business

By Internet Lawyer

You can obtain a free copy of the entire book “How The Federal Trade Commission Can Destroy Your Online Business ” in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format to download and read by clicking this link.

If not, you can read parts on this blog under the Federal Trade Commission category. Now the related disclaimers.


Information in this book is general in nature and should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Consult an attorney to address specific legal issues.

This book makes reference to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, other government agencies, and various businesses. All references are made solely for editorial purposes. The Author, as both author and as publisher, does not make any commercial claims to their use, and is not affiliated with the FTC in any way. All marks are the property of their respective owners.

Unless otherwise expressly noted, none of the agencies, individuals, or business entities mentioned herein have endorsed the contents of this Federal Trade Commission-related book.

This book contains hypertext links to websites and other information created and maintained by other individuals and organizations. These links are only provided for your convenience. I do not control or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, relevance, or timeliness of any information or privacy policies posted on these linked websites. You should know that these websites may track visitor viewing habits.