General Business Consumer Protection

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on General Business issues written by leading professionals.
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Annual HSR Merger Notification Threshold Adjustments Announced

On January 19, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual changes to the thresholds of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (the HSR Act). These thresholds are adjusted annually based on changes in...more

Changes to Polish Antimonopoly Law in a Nutshell

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Urzad Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, “UOKiK”) has recently published its 2015 annual report presenting its first experiences with the recent amendments to Polish...more

Will Trump Relax DOJ's Enforcement of Antitrust Laws?

The Obama Administration has made enforcement of the antitrust laws a priority and has aggressively pursued criminal and civil enforcement actions against large corporations for perceived antitrust violations relating to...more

TTB Publishes a Federal Register Notice Adjusting the Civil Monetary Penalty under ABLA

On January 10, 2017, TTB published a Federal Register notice adjusting the civil monetary penalty imposed for violations of the Alcohol Beverage Labeling Act of 1988 (the ABLA). The ABLA requires the labels of alcohol...more

Unfair Commercial Practices – The Italian Competition Authority and The Italian Communication Authority Sign a Memorandum of...

On 13 January 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) and the Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM) signed a memorandum of understanding concerning several aspects of their cooperation in the application of...more

New York Looks to Further Restrict Gift Card Practices

In December, we wrote about a new gift card law in New York that took effect on Christmas day, which was enacted by Senate Bill S. 4771-E. Under that now-effective law: - Gift card issuers are prohibited from charging a...more

California Choice of Law Provision Defeats Claim Under NJ Consumer Protection Law

On Monday, a California federal judge enforced the California choice-of-law clause in Facebook’s online terms of use, and on that basis refused to consider the claims of a New Jersey resident that aspects of those terms of...more

Passive Debt Buyer May Delegate Dispute Communications to Third Party

A New York District Court recently addressed the issue of whether the FDCPA requires passive debt buyers to personally register disputes or whether they can delegate that obligation to their third party debt...more

CFPB Seeks Feedback on Proposed Third Party Debt Collection Rules

Editor’s Note: On November 3, 2016, Smith Debnam’s Jerry Myers attended a meeting with the CFPB to discuss the proposed rules for third party debt collection. Below, he shares his thoughts from the meeting....more

New guidance on pricing practices in consumer dealings

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has, at the request of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), published new guidance aimed at preventing misleading and confusing pricing tactics used by...more

What the FDA has in store for the food industry in 2017

As Life Sciences Decoded looks forward in 2017, it is clear that FDA-regulated industries have a great deal of change confronting them. Last year, 2016, was a landmark year for the FDA and food regulations, as the agency...more

Protecting Large, National Customers in Merger Enforcement—A Temporary Trend?

The past year has seen some significant and interesting challenges brought by the federal antitrust agencies in the merger space. There has been evidence for years of the agencies’ aggressive willingness to litigate. And...more

New Jersey’s TCCWNA: New Year, Same Uncertainty

In 2016, many retailers found themselves on the wrong end of class actions brought under New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”). The suits allege that these retailers’ website terms of...more

Assessing the Trump Administration’s Approach to Antitrust and Unfair Competition

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the helm of the executive branch of the federal government, many are asking how he will approach antitrust regulation. Conventional wisdom holds that Republicans are more...more

2016 Antitrust Case Law And FTC Action Highlights FTC Agency’s Approach To Hospital Mergers

In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission prevailed in litigation before the Third and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal related to two high-profile hospital mergers. In both cases, the courts of appeal overturned the federal...more

California Issues New Guidance for Alternatives Analysis for Safer Consumer Products

California’s Green Chemistry Initiative has taken another step forward with proposed guidance on how to perform the required “alternatives analysis” by manufacturers of certain consumer products sold in the state. The...more

CFPB settles with military financing company for alleged TILA/EFTA disclosure violations

The CFPB announced that it has entered into a consent order with Military Credit Services, LLC, a company providing revolving credit to military consumers, to settle allegations that the company’s open-end credit agreements...more

Financial Services Weekly News - December 2016 #3

Editor's Note - The End of “Too Big to Fail”? On December 15, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) adopted a final rule to strengthen the ability of government authorities to...more

Is the FSMA a plaintiff’s lawyer’s dream and the food industry’s nightmare?

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) became law in 2011, signaling a sea change in U.S. food safety regulation and making prevention the cornerstone of safety measures. To achieve its lofty goals, while providing time for...more

FDA Issues Final Guidance on “Emerging Signals”

Guidance addresses industry concerns about premature public notifications. On December 14, 2015, the FDA issued a final guidance titled “Public Notification of Emerging Postmarket Medical Device Signals” (Final...more

Congress Voids Form Contract Provisions That Impede Consumer Reviews

To paraphrase William Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, businesses may ask you for a review, but they only want praise. Indeed some businesses have tried to ensure only good reviews by including non-disparagement clauses...more

New York Puts Coal in Gift Card Issuers’ Stockings with New Rules

On September 26, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation amending Section 396-i of the New York General Business Law to provide additional restrictions and limitations applicable to the issuance of gift...more

The Freedom to Yelp: Congress Curbs ToS Overreach

Worried about a company retaliating against you when you post a negative review on Yelp or TripAdvisor? Worry no longer because Congress has your back. Last week, Congress passed a law that will make it illegal for companies...more

Major Retailers' Deceptive Pricing - What Merchants Need to Know

Last Friday, the Los Angeles City attorney's office brought suit against four major retailers alleging that the retailers were offering discounts on products that never sold at the advertised retail price. These types of...more

Further Challenges to EU-US Privacy Shield and EU Data Exports

The EU-US Privacy Shield, introduced earlier this year to provide a lawful means of transferring personal data from the EU to the US, is facing a second legal challenge, this time from several French privacy rights groups....more

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