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Deceptive Trade Practices

Deceptive trade practices, including deceptive marketing and false earnings claims.

Internet Lawyer: Federal Trade Commission and State Laws

By Internet Lawyer

In addition to the federal consumer protection laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you have to be concerned with similar laws in each state where you do business. Talk with your Internet lawyer about these legal risks.

Like sharks detecting blood in the water, a high publicity FTC court judgment or settlement attracts people who like to sue for violations of state consumer protection laws. You may even be investigated by a state attorney general’s consumer protection office.

If you are perceived to have deep pockets (a lot of money), chances are one or more consumer lawsuits will be filed in state courts. Even if your Internet lawyer helps your litigator win these cases for you, you still lose because of the legal fees you’ll spend.

Let’s use the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) as an example of why consumer suits under state laws are so attractive whether or not the Federal Trade Commission has taken action.

In some circumstances, a successful DTPA consumer plaintiff can get the following in court:

* Economic damages, including repair or replacement costs

* Damages for mental anguish, pain, and suffering

* Punitive damages that may be up to three times actual damages

* An injunction that stops you from selling the product or service

* Restitution

* Attorney fees

After being hit by the Federal Trade Commission, it doesn’t take many of these state consumer protection lawsuits to bankrupt a business. Consult with your Internet lawyer to reduce the chances you’ll get nailed for deceptive trade practices.

Clever Marketing Is Not A Scam

By Internet Lawyer

In Transparency Versus Hypocrisy, Michel Fortin discusses at length a blog feud involving claims of ethical misconduct arising from the disclosure (or lack thereof) of compensation being paid for links, Adsense, to affiliates, etc. Read the entire post. It is an eye-opener.
Note that the feud is not with Fortin. He is just weighing on a dispute between John Calacanis and the owners of PayPerPost.com.
It hurts online marketers and bloggers in general when accusations of deceptive trade practices are made. If this argument spills out into the blogosphere, it has the danger of baiting both class action trial lawyers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulators to step in under the guise of protecting the consumer.

Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail.

Clever marketing is not a scam. The entrepreneurial spirit should be encouraged instead of ridiculed, regulated, or sued into submission.