On Tuesday, July 19, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued the Mortgage Acts and Practices (“MAP”) – Advertising Final Rule (the “Final Rule”), which bans deceptive claims and practices that may occur with regard to mortgage advertising or other types of commercial communications.
The Final Rule will have important implications for all advertisers and marketers of mortgage credit products, including lead generators and advertising agencies. More specifically, the Final Rule (1) provides guidance and clarity as to what practices constitute deceptive mortgage advertising; (2) gives the FTC and state authorities power to seek civil penalties for deceptive mortgage advertising, which the Final Rule defines broadly; and (3) imposes record-keeping requirements on mortgage advertisers.
Without exception, all entities within the FTC’s jurisdiction that advertise mortgages, including mortgage lenders, brokers, and servicers; real estate agents and brokers; advertising agencies; home builders; lead generators; rate aggregators; and others fall under the auspices of the Final Rule. While the FTC and other state and federal agencies have promulgated separate rules that prohibit false or misleading advertising, none of the other statutes or regulations duplicates “the specificity and breadth of practices and diversity of entities covered in the Final Rule.”
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