National Advertising Division Inquiry Into ‘Easy Cancelation’ Claims

The U.S. advertising industry founded the National Advertising Division (NAD) and the National Advertising Review Board as a a system of independent industry self-regulation to build consumer trust in advertising and support fair competition in the marketplace.  NAD holds national advertising across all media types to high standards of truth and accuracy by reviewing truth-in-advertising challenges from businesses, trade associations, consumers, or on its own initiative.
NAD’s case decisions represent the single largest body of advertising law in the country.
The NAD recently initiated an inquiry into a Blue Apron’s sponsored Instagram post statement that “Canceling meals is easy.”  In doing so, the NAD noted that the FTC’s recent report on illegal dark patterns indicates, among other things, that sign-ups must be easy to cancel, and at least via the same medium that was used for registration.
Subscription and continuity programs are aggressively policed by regulatory agencies, both state and federal.  Compliance with automatic renewal laws, such as the FTC ROSCA rule requires some deliberate thought because requirements pertaining to issues surrounding things like disclosure of terms, notice and cancelation can vary as between federal and state, or from state by state.
Previously, Blue Apron asked consumers to send an email for instructions on how to cancel subscriptions.  Presently the company offer various methods by which consumers may cancel their subscription, one of which is an online cancelation mechanism.
Richard B. Newman is an FTC CID attorney at Hinch Newman LLP.

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