Premier Internet Advertising Law Firm for Defense of FTC and Regulatory Actions
Hinch Newman has served as defense counsel on some of the highest-profile online marketing-related FTC and state Attorney General cases in recent years and is a leader in defending consumer protection agency advertising enforcement actions. If an investigation is launched or if the Federal Trade Commission / state Attorney General has initiated an enforcement action against your company, it is imperative that you contact an experienced FTC defense lawyer and regulatory compliance attorney with a long-established practice of negotiating and litigating online and offline regulatory matters.
The firm has extensive experience representing clients in Federal Trade Commission, state Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Consumer Affairs, Electronic Retailing Self-Regulatory Program and Public Utility Commission investigations and enforcement matters involving allegations of licensure, consumer fraud, false advertising and unfair business practices. We have successfully defended affiliate networks, publishers, email marketers, lead generators, debt collection companies, call centers and consumer credit companies in high-stakes government investigations, enforcement proceedings and litigation.
Regulatory litigation and compliance attorney Richard B. Newman has been cited as an authority in conjunction with a petition for a writ of certiorari filed with the Supreme Court of the United States on the issue of whether the Federal Trade Commission is authorized to seek, and a district court to grant, monetary remedies against those that have violated the FTC Act. He has also been quoted by numerous media outlets on compliance issues, including an interview concerning celebrity endorsement guidelines on Inside Edition.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to see our recent Representative Experience. Articles that Mr. Newman has authored about responding to Civil Investigative Demands and state Attorney General subpoenas can be seen, here and here.
An FTC defense lawyer can be an indispensable asset in connection with advertising, promotion and marketing activities. We regularly advise our clients on a broad range of local, state and federal laws regulating advertising endeavors, including, but not limited to, the following: compliance with industry-specific regulatory and consumer protection requirements; claim substantiation; misleading and deceptive claims; subscription-based and recurring revenue business models; data usage, privacy and security; native advertising; telemarketing compliance; email marketing compliance; endorsements and testimonials; comparative and competitor advertising; sale price advertising; textile and labeling requirements; and environmental and U.S. Origin (“Made in USA”) claims.
The firm imparts preventative guidance on risk-minimization issues and develops strategic campaigns that comply with applicable advertising and marketing laws, regulations and policies. We work side-by-side with our clients to anticipate industry developments and formulate strategic compliance measures that go a long way toward avoiding regulatory scrutiny in the first place.
As a distinguished FTC and state Attorney General regulatory compliance, investigation and litigation defense law firm, we also have the experience to critically examine best business practices while effectively maximizing revenue.
We work closely with our clients that are engaged in the promotion of nutraceutical and dietary supplements, consumer credit products, insurance service, and for-profit schools and career training programs on a wide array of issues, such as the design and implementation of promotional, pre-sale and landing page advertising compliance strategies in order to mitigate liability exposure and maintain conversions.
The firm combines its knowledge across a range of commercial advertising laws and regulatory issues, such as FTC guidelines and FDA regulations, into a single integrated approach, enabling us to leverage knowledge in one area to provide practical solutions in another. Given today’s dynamic and fast-changing digital environment, such an approach offers significant added value to our clients.
Whether you are a manufacturer, seller, advertiser or an affiliate marketing network, an outsourced affiliate program manager, a lead generator or a publisher that markets products or services on the Internet – doing business online inherently presents both unique opportunities and risks. At Hinch Newman our years of Internet marketing compliance and regulatory defense experience are a significant benefit to our clients.
In addition to formal litigation, we are authorities on unfair business practices risk-analysis and compliance issues. You need a consumer protection regulatory compliance, investigation and litigation attorney who concentrates on conducting detailed internal audits to confirm that applicable legal and regulatory standards are being met. We provide advice and qualitative risk-management counsel to individuals and corporations regarding new and existing regulatory initiatives, potential liability exposure, and subsequent recommendations for any necessary process changes or corrective actions to ensure compliance.
Guidelines pertaining to the use of testimonials and self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising are also in sharp-focus within the Internet marketing sector. Online and mobile marketing campaigns that potentially include elements of unfair business practices can potentially ignite an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, various state Attorneys General and local consumer protection agencies. Clearly, Internet and mobile based businesses must be wary of the risks and proceed only after consultation with an experienced FTC compliance and defense lawyer.
The firm possesses particular skills in order to negotiate and resolve a broad range of state and federal government investigations on behalf of our clients. What do you do first? How do you keep your options open? How do you limit disruption and minimize the damage? How do you ensure that your company’s concerns are considered and addressed? When faced with a government agency inquiry or complaint, responding appropriately in order to condition a positive outcome is vital.
We possess the regulatory compliance counseling experience to assist you with managing an investigation and prepare a deliberate and cautious response in order to fend-off litigation The firm has achieved a track record of success in negotiating reasonable settlements and in persuading the FTC and state Attorneys General not to file formal actions against our clients.
Our extensive representative experience with Internet and telecommunications-related legal matters, coupled with an impeccable reputation amongst local, state and federal regulatory bodies, have benefitted the firm’s clients by the prompt closure of complex investigations amicably, rather than the initiation of formal enforcement proceedings.
The firm’s services include reviewing promotional materials for compliance and defining various threats, determining the extent of vulnerabilities and consequences for non-compliance and structuring online commercial marketing programs in accordance with agency regulations with a view towards warding-off potential litigation, altogether. When necessary, we work closely with our clients to devise countermeasures should an inquiry or lawsuit be initiated. You can count on our experience to navigate through government inquiries and investigations that may include lawsuits or proceedings, settlement discussions, consent decrees or assurances of voluntary compliance.
If you have received an access letter, a subpoena or a civil investigative demand (CID) from a regulatory agency, or are otherwise the target of a government investigation, an audit triggered by a regulatory enforcement action or a defendant in state or federal court involving your business practices or advertising methods, please contact a Hinch Newman FTC regulatory compliance and defense lawyer for a free consultation to ensure that your matter is handled correctly and proactively, right from the start.
The following are examples of recent regulatory investigations and enforcement matters the firm has handled to successful resolution:
- Represented an online lead generator in conjunction with a Civil Investigative Demand issued by the Federal Trade Commission examining deceptive and unfair acts or practices in the advertising, marketing, sale or servicing of loans and related products. The FTC was also investigating whether loan brokers, lenders, loan servicers and other marketers of loans had engaged in acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. The firm successfully secured the prompt closure of the investigation.
- Represented data broker defendants in a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging in excess of $4M in consumer harm as a result of the purported collection of loan applications submitted by consumers to payday loan websites and the distribution of sensitive information to non-lenders that, in turn: (I) utilized the information to withdraw millions of dollars from consumers’ accounts without their authorization; and (ii) conducted unauthorized marketing activities by email, text message and telephone calls. The firm successfully negotiated favorable settlement terms without any admission of culpability, premised upon the truthfulness of defendants’ financial information.
- Represented online lead generators in a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit wherein the Commission sought millions of dollars in damages as a result of what the FTC described as fake blogs, fake news websites, fake testimonials, the failure to disclose material connections and bogus free trial offers in conjunction with selling Acai berry weight loss products. The firm successfully negotiated extremely favorable settlement terms without any finding of liability. Defendants paid only a small proportion of the damages that their network co-defendants were ordered to pay and an even smaller fraction of the damages sought by the FTC, premised upon the truthfulness of their financial information.
- Represented affiliate marketers in conjunction with a Civil Investigative Demand issued by the Federal Trade Commission examining false and misleading representations about certification programs, as well as the failure to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections within purported independent websites. The firm successfully negotiated favorable settlement terms of nominal monetary value without any finding of liability, premised upon the truthfulness of respondents’ financial information. The firm also successfully negotiated the exclusion of additional specific instances of alleged unlawful advertising conduct.
- Represented affiliate marketers in conjunction with investigations by the Florida Attorney General into the promotion of weight loss and automobile insurance products/services. The firm successfully negotiated extremely favorable settlements where respondents paid only a nominal proportion of the damages alleged by the FL OAG. Both matters were resolved promptly and quietly, without any resulting litigation or admission of culpability.
- Represented a pay-per-call network in conjunction with a subpoena issued by the Illinois Attorney General regarding student loan services campaigns. Specifically, the investigation focused upon potential violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by various third-party publishers pertaining to the advertising, soliciting and generation of leads from consumers interested in student loan services. The firm successfully secured the prompt closure of the investigation.
- Represented online marketers in a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit prosecuting what the FTC described as deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, in connection with the marketing and sale of academic degree and certification programs. In doing so, the FTC alleged that defendants mislead consumers about their association with recognized high school equivalency programs through the use of deceptive metatags and website names designed to look like legitimate online high schools. The firm successfully negotiated extremely favorable settlement terms without protracted litigation or a finding of liability. Defendants paid only a small proportion of the damages alleged by the FTC, premised upon the truthfulness of their financial information.
- Represented telemarketer in a Utah Division of Consumer Protection investigation regarding alleged violations of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Telephone Fraud Prevention Act. The Utah DCP was focused upon whether consumers were contacted to make telephone solicitations while the telemarketers were not registered as a telephone soliciting business, whether the telemarketers informed consumers of the right to cancel and whether the telemarketers failed to furnish services after receipt of payment. The matter was resolved amicably and the investigation promptly closed after payment of an extremely nominal sum by respondent.
- Represented an email marketing company in an investigation by the New York Attorney General relating to alleged violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. The New York OAG was focused upon the company’s email marketing practices, related compliance considerations and third-party lead generation relationships.