cover art for Product Safety and Recalls

Ad Law Tool Kit Show

Product Safety and Recalls

Season 1, Ep. 1

It doesn’t happen a lot, but every so often a consumer product can be revealed to be unsafe. When that happens, it can bring up questions about a company’s obligations regarding the related products. Host Len Gordon talks to Venable partners Erin Maus and Melissa Steinman about how U.S. law requires manufacturers, retailers, and marketers to report unsafe products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Compliance involves monitoring complaints, reviews, and databases. Failing to report promptly incurs penalties, while voluntary recalls might prompt false advertising lawsuits. 

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  • 12. Telemarketing and Texting

    Telephone and text marketing is ubiquitous these days. But those tools also pose private litigation risks and regulatory hurdles that marketers should be aware of at the outset of any campaign. They involve legal and regulatory complexities, including do-not-call laws enforced by the FTC, FCC, and states. Host Shahin Rothermel and Venable partner Ari Rothman talk about how litigation often concerns consent for autodialed calls and texts. State laws may broaden rules, causing uncertainty regarding reassigned numbers. 
  • 11. State Attorney General Investigations

    State attorneys general (AGs) are the chief legal officers of their states, and their areas of concern are vast. Aggressive enforcement against telemarking, debt relief, privacy violations, and charity fraud can generate goodwill with an AG’s state residents. Compliance with laws, prompt complaint resolution, and proactive engagement with AGs are crucial. Host Len Gordon and his guest, former Venable partner Alex Megaris, go over how businesses facing AG inquiries should retain documents, negotiate confidentiality agreements, and focus efforts on smaller AG committees in multi-state actions to manage these probes effectively.
  • 10. Website Accessibility

    Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in public accommodations. But whether it applies to websites differs by location. California exempts online-only businesses, for example, but elsewhere, offering online goods or services can mandate compliance. Host Shahin Rothermel and her guests, Karel Mazanec and Nick Reiter, discuss recent court decisions that provide defenses against generic lawsuits, stressing specific injury claims. The explosion of online commerce has forced the question: How does Title III apply to websites? 
  • 9. Copyright Counseling and Protection

    Maintaining a robust copyright portfolio is crucial for brand owners. Copyright is a universe almost as big as Marvel’s, covering materials from ad copy to music and social media posts. Host Len Gordon and Venable partner Justin Pierce talk about how it's vital to secure ownership rights through agreements, clear third-party content, register copyrights, and have work-for-hire contracts. Staying updated on copyright trends and checking insurance coverage are essential for comprehensive copyright protection.
  • 8. Social Media, Influencers, and Endorsements

    Advertisers increasingly view social media as an opportunity to have influencers speak positively about their products and services. But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it clear that rules regarding disclosure of material connections also apply in the social media context. Host Shahin Rothermel and her guest, Venable partner Melissa Steinman, go over guidelines that include straightforward declarations like "X Company gave me a free product" or hashtags like #ad, emphasizing upfront, noticeable disclosures. Specific rules apply for different content formats, urging companies to monitor and educate employees and third-party implementers to prevent regulatory issues.
  • 7. Payment Processing

    For retailers a key, back-end function you can’t do without is a solid merchant processing relationship to acceptance of payments. Robust merchant processing includes credit/debit card, ACH networks, and auxiliary services like analytics, dispute resolution, and security tools. Given the complex payments ecosystem involving various stakeholders, host Len Gordon and his guests, Venable partners Ellen Berge and Andrew Bigart, walk through the importance for merchants to understand the intricacies of compliance, risk management, security, and fraud prevention.
  • 6. Mitigating Class Action Exposure

    When it comes to mitigating class action lawsuits, the best offense is a good defense. There are plenty of steps companies can take to reduce their exposure to class action litigation. Host Shahin Rothermel and guest Venable partner Dan Silverman talk about ways for organizations to minimize class action lawsuit risks by proactively defending against potential litigation. These include conducting thorough advertising reviews, monitoring competitors' practices, adhering to regulatory standards, and focusing on areas susceptible to litigation, such as consumer interactions, billing, data breaches, and marketing claims. 
  • 5. Surviving an FTC Investigation

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating your advertising or marketing practice—not something you ever want to hear. But if your organization has received a civil investigative demand, or CID, what’s next? Host Len Gordon and this week’s guests, Venable partner Roger Colaizzi and former partner Alex Megaris, discuss how adopting a strategic approach is key, as is understanding the FTC staff's pivotal role in case resolution.
  • 4. Lead Generation

    In the realm of lead generation and performance-based customer acquisition, pursuing profits carries significant legal risks. Host Shahin Rothermel is joined by Venable partners Jonathan Pompan and Ari Rothman to talk about how advertisers should heed crucial best practices to mitigate these risks. These include understanding regulations governing communication with leads, compliance measures, online contract formation, lead qualification, cautious approaches to upsells and consent, and monitoring endorsements for Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compliance to avoid liabilities arising from misleading claims or noncompliance with regulations. The quest for profits can lead to big legal risks, some of them too large for advertisers that buy leads through third parties.