Gross McGinley LLP

gross-headerimg-1
Blog Disclaimer

Blog Disclaimer

This Blog is intended for educational and informational purposes and intended to only provide you with a general understanding of the law, not to provide any legal advice, including on the subject of the Blog. Laws that may pertain to this Blog will vary by jurisdiction, and the information on this blog may not apply to you. The content within this Blog is not intended, and should not be construed, in any way to be legal advice and thus you should not rely on any information provided in the Blog as legal advice. You should consult with appropriate legal counsel concerning any issues for which legal advice may be needed. Your review or use of the Blog and the content therein is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Please contact us if you have any questions about a Blog or would like more information, but, by contacting us, no attorney-client relationship is formed between you and Gross McGinley, LLP, including the Blog author. Do not send any confidential information to Gross McGinley, LLP or the authors of the Blog without first speaking to one of our lawyers and receiving our permission to provide confidential information. Unsolicited confidential information sent to us may not be subject to an attorney-client privilege and may not be treated as confidential. This Blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Gross McGinley, LLP disclaims all liability to all persons for any claim, loss, liability or any damages that may arise in connection with the Blog and any content or information contained in the Blog. Even though we strive to create our Blog content based on our current understanding of the law, we cannot and do not guarantee that the content and information in the Blog is current, accurate, or complete. Gross McGinley, LLP owns the copyright in the Blog, which is protected by federal and state laws, including copyright laws. The Blog cannot be altered or modified in any way. A copy of the Blog may be used and printed only for personal, educational, informational and noncommercial purposes. The Blog cannot be used for any other purpose without the express permission of Gross McGinley, LLP.

FTC Cracks Down on Inadequate Disclosures in Advertisements with Recent Warning Letters

Written by: Paul A. McGinley on October 13, 2014 | Category: Blog | Tags: ,

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to more than 60 national companies concerning the inadequacy of disclosures in their television and print ads. “Operation Full Disclosure,” the new initiative implemented by the FTC, focused on reviewing fine print and other disclosures that were challenging to read or easy to miss, yet included significant information that consumers would need to avoid being deceived.

Disclosures are needed to ensure that the full terms of an offer are adequately disclosed, in order to avoid a claim being charged as deceptive because it omits a material term.  If a disclosure is needed to make an ad truthful and not misleading, the disclosure must be “clear and conspicuous.” To meet these criteria, disclosures should follow the guidelines below:

  • be situated close to the claims they relate to;
  • be noticeable in the advertising, and appear in a font and shade that is easy to read;
  • use clear and explicit language;
  • be repeated enough times in order to be effectively communicated;
  • for television ads, be on the screen long enough to be read and understood; and
  • for radio ads, be presented at an adequate volume and speed.

The FTC offered examples of inadequate disclosures including, but not limited to:

  • quoting the price of a product or service, but not disclosing conditions for obtaining the price;
  • not disclosing an automatic billing feature;
  • advertising an accessory as included without a disclosure that an additional product/service needed to be owned or purchased first;
  • claiming that a product was unique or superior in a product category, but failing to disclose how narrowly the advertiser defined the category;
  • advertising a “risk-free” trial period, but not disclosing that consumers have to pay shipping costs; and
  • making broad and unequivocal statements, while failing to explain relevant exceptions or limitations.

The FTC’s trend lately is to send warning letters generally and then enforcement actions against advertisers who fail to comply. For more information, please click here.


Paul A. McGinley, one of the founding partners of Gross McGinley, practices business and commercial law. He counsels clients in publishing, Internet, business, commercial real estate acquisition and development, and intellectual property matters.

Kimberly Spotts-Kimmel, a partner in the Business Services Group, counsels businesses that maintain an online presence in all legal aspects of internet law.  She also works with a wide range of clients, from small businesses and non-profits to large corporations, on intellectual property, advertising, and media law matters.

Next Previous
View All Attorneys
View All Practice Areas
View Blog