The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a press release about the testimony of Andrew Smith (FTC Consumer Protection Director) which “outlined the FTC’s efforts to protect consumers from scammers seeking to take advantage of the pandemic. The FTC has been monitoring consumer complaints and the marketplace for a variety of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The July 21, 2020 press release was entitled “FTC Testifies Before Congress on Efforts to Combat COVID-19-related Scams” which included these comments about the testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection:
The FTC has seen deceptive advertising or marketing touting “miracle cures” for COVID-19, the testimony noted. To get these false treatment claims taken down as quickly as possible, the FTC has sent more than 250 warning letters to marketers regarding claims that their products will treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19. In most cases, companies that have received such letters take steps to quickly correct their problematic claims. The FTC, however, reiterated that it will pursue law enforcement action when a warning letter does not stop the problem.
The FTC also has sent warning letters to multi-level marketing companies regarding COVID-19 prevention or treatment claims and earnings claims, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers for “assisting and facilitating” illegal telemarketing or robocalls related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to companies making claims that could lead consumers and small businesses to believe these companies are somehow affiliated with the Small Business Administration.
Let’s hope that Congress can help!
© 2020 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 209
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