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When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

FTC Legal Representation Lawyers – FTC Defense Lawyers

Dealing with an FTC investigation can be intimidating. But having an experienced FTC defense attorney on your side makes all the difference. This guide will walk you through key things to know about FTC defense and how a knowledgeable lawyer can help.

What is the FTC?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a government agency that enforces consumer protection and antitrust laws. Their goal is to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive business practices and promote competition.

The FTC has the power to investigate companies and individuals they suspect of violating the law. This includes issuing subpoenas, demanding documents, and requiring sworn testimony. If they determine violations occurred, the FTC can file lawsuits in federal court seeking injunctions or monetary damages.

Why Would the FTC Investigate Your Business?

There are many reasons the FTC may start poking around your company. Here are some common triggers for FTC investigations:

  • Consumer complaints about fraud, data breaches, or other issues
  • Making misleading claims in advertising or marketing materials
  • Violating laws related to privacy, data security, or telemarketing
  • Unfair or anti-competitive business practices
  • Deceptive pricing, refund policies, or subscription plans

Often investigations begin with the FTC issuing a Civil Investigative Demand (CID). This is a request for information similar to a subpoena. It will specify what documents, data, or testimony the FTC requires you to provide.

Responding to an FTC Investigation

If you receive notice of an FTC investigation, it’s crucial to involve an experienced FTC defense attorney right away. Here’s what a knowledgeable lawyer can do to protect your interests:

  • Carefully review the CID and determine what information the FTC is seeking
  • Negotiate with the FTC to narrow the scope of the CID if it seems overly broad
  • Gather responsive documents and materials from your company
  • Prepare company representatives for investigative hearings
  • Assert privileges and confidentiality protections where appropriate
  • Present defenses and arguments to convince the FTC no laws were violated

Having legal counsel involved early allows you to put your best foot forward and avoid missteps when responding to an investigation.

Settling FTC Charges

If the FTC believes your business violated the law, they may try to reach a settlement. This involves agreeing to an order that prohibits you from engaging in the contested practices in the future. It may also require paying fines or restitution.

An experienced FTC defense lawyer can negotiate with regulators to secure the most favorable settlement terms possible. This includes limiting the scope of injunctive provisions, reducing monetary payments, and carving out important business practices from restrictions.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Fighting Back in Federal Court

If a settlement can’t be reached, the FTC may decide to file a lawsuit against your company in federal court. Your lawyer’s litigation experience will be indispensable if you end up in court.

A skilled FTC defense attorney can:

  • File motions contesting the FTC’s legal theories and allegations
  • Take discovery to obtain evidence weakening the FTC’s case
  • Retain expert witnesses to rebut the FTC’s positions
  • Attempt to have the case dismissed before trial if the FTC lacks proof
  • Argue to narrow the scope of requested remedies
  • Appeal any unfavorable rulings after trial

Having an attorney well-versed in FTC litigation procedures can help you get the best possible outcome if a lawsuit occurs.

Key FTC Defense Strategies

Experienced FTC defense lawyers have many strategies to protect clients during investigations and litigation. Here are some of the most effective techniques top attorneys use:

  • Question the FTC’s authority – In some cases, experienced lawyers can argue the FTC is overstepping its jurisdiction or lacks legal basis for its allegations.
  • Dispute the FTC’s interpretations – There is often room for debate around how consumer protection and antitrust laws apply to novel business practices.
  • Demonstrate good faith – Showing that you acted ethically and tried to comply with the law can convince the FTC violations were unintentional.
  • Focus on consumer benefits – Explaining how consumers broadly benefit from your business model can undermine allegations of unfair competition.
  • Leverage industry expertise – Retaining experts familiar with your sector’s economics can weaken the FTC’s assumptions.

A creative and strategic defense drawing on these principles can get charges reduced or even dismissed. An experienced FTC defense lawyer will know how to craft the most compelling arguments for your unique situation.

Choosing the Right FTC Defense Attorney

Picking the right lawyer to defend against FTC charges is critical. Look for these key traits in prospective counsel:

  • Extensive experience handling FTC investigations and litigation
  • In-depth knowledge of consumer protection and antitrust laws
  • Creativity pursuing legal and factual defenses
  • Skill negotiating favorable settlements
  • Dedication to meticulous preparation
  • Tenacity fighting for your interests

It also helps to pick a lawyer with subject matter expertise related to your industry. This allows them to better understand your business practices and mount strong defenses.

Vet any attorney thoroughly and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Get a sense of their track record with past cases and overall philosophy. Take time to find the right fit. Your freedom to continue operating how you see fit could depend on it.

The Bottom Line

Responding to FTC scrutiny is daunting but manageable with experienced legal counsel guiding you. Focus on finding the right defense attorney fit. Be proactive and compliant during the investigation. Keep believing in your business model while making necessary tweaks. With perseverance and a strong defense, you can emerge from even rigorous FTC scrutiny with your business intact.

Helpful Legal Resources

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Responding to FTC Investigations of Influencers and Endorsers

If you’re an influencer or brand who works with influencers, you may find yourself on the receiving end of an FTC investigation regarding endorsements. Don’t panic! Here’s what you need to know about responding to these inquiries and staying on the right side of the law.

Why the FTC Investigates Endorsements

The FTC’s goal is to protect consumers from deceptive advertising practices. This includes making sure endorsements are truthful and not misleading. If an influencer promotes a product without properly disclosing they were paid or given free stuff, that’s considered deceptive. Same goes for fake reviews. The FTC Act prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” Violating this can lead to legal action from the FTC, including fines or orders to stop the deceptive advertising. So they take this stuff seriously!

The FTC’s Endorsement Guides

The FTC’s Endorsement Guides provide the framework for proper disclosure of influencer-brand relationships[1]. They were last updated in 2009 but new proposed changes are coming. The Guides aren’t actual regulations, but they clarify the FTC’s interpretation of the law. Some key points from the Endorsement Guides:

  • If there’s a “material connection” between an influencer and a brand they’re promoting, it must be clearly disclosed. This includes being paid or receiving free products.
  • Disclosures must be clear and conspicuous – visible and understandable to consumers.
  • Disclosures are required across all platforms – Instagram, YouTube, blogs, etc.
  • Marketers should monitor influencer content and take action if disclosures aren’t being made.

Violating these guidelines can lead to FTC action. But following them is no guarantee you’re in the clear – the FTC still evaluates things case-by-case[2].

Receiving an FTC Investigation Letter

If the FTC believes an influencer or brand may be violating endorsement laws, they often start by sending an investigation letter. This informs the recipient they’re under investigation and requests information. These letters don’t mean you’ll definitely be penalized. But you must take them seriously and respond promptly and thoroughly. Non-cooperation will not go over well. The FTC may request copies of influencer agreements, payment records, and screenshots or archives of posts. They’ll want to see what disclosures were made. Be 100% truthful in your responses – lying will only cause bigger issues. The investigation letter will outline what information is being requested and provide a deadline to respond. This is usually 30 days but could be less. It’s in your best interest to meet the FTC’s deadline or request an extension if truly needed.

How to Respond to an FTC Investigation

If you receive an investigation letter, here are some tips on responding:

  • Don’t panic. An investigation isn’t the same as formal charges.
  • Be cooperative and transparent. Provide all requested info accurately and on time.
  • Hire legal counsel with experience in this area. A lawyer can help protect your rights.
  • Review your influencer contracts and disclosures. Make any needed changes going forward.
  • Ask the FTC if you have any questions or need clarification.
  • Consider reaching out to the FTC proactively if you discover compliance issues.

Having an action plan ready can help you respond effectively. And document everything in writing – don’t just communicate verbally.

What Happens After Responding

After you respond, a few things could happen:

  • The FTC provides guidance on compliance and closes the investigation.
  • You receive a closing letter but the FTC plans to monitor your activities.
  • The FTC issues a formal complaint against you.

If no action is taken, great! But continue monitoring influencer content closely to avoid issues down the road. Any further problems and the FTC may come knocking again. If a complaint is issued, the FTC will propose specific remedies to address the violations. This usually involves stopping the deceptive ads and disclosing the investigation results publicly. You can settle the charges by agreeing to the proposed remedies. If no settlement is reached, the case may go before an administrative law judge.

Avoiding Investigations in the First Place

Here are some proactive steps influencers and brands can take to steer clear of FTC investigations:

  • Carefully vet influencers and have clear contracts.
  • Monitor influencer content for proper disclosures.
  • Educate influencers on FTC endorsement compliance.
  • Be open about gifting products to influencers.
  • Correct any noncompliant posts immediately.
  • Keep accurate records of payments and products given to influencers.
  • Seek legal guidance on endorsement best practices.

Staying on top of the latest FTC guidelines is also key. Things evolve quickly in the social media age! Even with great compliance, the FTC may come calling if they receive consumer complaints. But following endorsement laws and guidance can help you rest easier at night.

The Bottom Line

FTC influencer investigations are serious business. If you receive an inquiry letter, hire legal counsel and respond completely and promptly. Be upfront about past mistakes and detail the steps you’re taking to fix them. Implementing an endorsement compliance action plan can help avoid problems in the first place. But if issues arise, handling them head-on is the best damage control. With proper precautions, influencers and brands can promote products while maintaining trust with their audiences. And that’s a win-win for everyone involved!

References

  1. Responding to FTC Investigations of Influencers and Affiliates
  2. FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking
  3. Endorsements, Influencers, and Reviews
  4. FTC and endorsements: Final revised guides, a proposed new rule, and an updated staff publication
  5. FTC Staff Reminds Influencers and Brands to Clearly Disclose Relationship
  6. Federal Trade Commission Announces Updated Advertising Guides to Combat Deceptive Reviews and Endorsements

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Surviving an FTC Interview: Tips from Someone Who’s Been There

Getting called in for an interview with the Federal Trade Commission can feel really intimidating and nerve-wracking. But going in prepared and knowing what to expect can help you get through it while protecting your rights. As someone who has gone through the experience, I wanted to share some tips on how to handle an FTC interview. This includes dos and don’ts on how to prepare, what to bring, strategies for answering questions, asserting your rights, and more. With the right approach, you can get through an FTC interview.

Before the Interview

The key to success starts long before you even set foot in the interview room. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when preparing:

Do: Educate Yourself on Your Rights

Before the interview, take the time to educate yourself on your legal rights. The FTC must advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. It’s important to know ahead of time that you can invoke these rights at any point during the interview, even if you initially start answering questions. I’d recommend reviewing the FTC’s Your Rights pamphlet so you fully understand what protections you have.

Don’t: Try to Exaggerate or Hide Anything

When providing background information or documents to the FTC, be completely truthful in how you represent yourself. Don’t exaggerate or stretch the truth even a little bit. False statements or misrepresentations can potentially lead to charges of lying to investigators or obstruction of justice. Total honesty is key.

Do: Organize Any Requested Documents

Gather together any documents the FTC has requested – emails, financial statements, contracts, etc. Have them very clearly organized, paginated, and easily accessible. I’d recommend bringing multiple copies so you and the investigators can follow along.

Don’t Discuss the Case with Anyone Besides Your Attorney

Avoid discussing the investigation or anything related to the case with anyone other than your attorney. You never know when conversations could be recorded or monitored. Don’t speculate or discuss details of the case. Stick to the facts you know and let your lawyer handle the rest.

What to Bring

Come prepared with these items:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Any documents requested by the FTC
  • Medications you may need
  • A bottle of water
  • Notepad and pen for taking notes
  • Business cards can be helpful too

Don’t bring electronic devices like cell phones or laptops, as you likely won’t be allowed to use them during the interview.

Asserting Your Rights

You have the fundamental right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Here are some tips on asserting those rights effectively if needed:

Remaining Silent

You can invoke your right to remain silent at any point during the interview, even if you initially waive it and start answering questions. Simply state clearly, “I am exercising my right to remain silent.” Then say absolutely nothing further until you have a chance to consult with legal counsel.

Right to an Attorney

If you want to speak to an attorney, clearly state, “I want to speak with an attorney.” Questioning should stop immediately at that point. If it doesn’t, calmly repeat your request for counsel. Don’t answer any substantive questions until you’ve had a chance to confer with your lawyer.

Don’t Get into an Argument

Don’t get into a heated debate with investigators about your rights or anything else. Calmly and repeatedly assert your right to silence or an attorney as needed. The courts will determine later if your rights were violated or not.

Answering Questions

If you choose to answer questions during the interview, keep these dos and don’ts in mind:

Do: Listen Carefully

Pay very close attention to each question before responding. Don’t feel rushed. If you need any clarification or for them to rephrase, don’t be afraid to ask.

Do: Keep Answers Short

Answer only the specific question asked, nothing more. You want to stay focused and stick to just the facts. Don’t provide extra information not requested.

Don’t: Speculate

Stick to what you personally know or have clear evidence of. Don’t theorize or guess at answers when you’re unsure. It’s perfectly fine to simply say “I don’t know” if that’s the truth.

Do: Correct Any Mistakes

If you realize you misspoke or your previous answer was inaccurate, correct the record as soon as possible. Say, “I’d like to clarify my earlier statement.” Tell the full truth, even if it’s embarrassing or incriminating.

Don’t: Lose Your Cool

The investigators may try to fluster you, but keep calm and professional. If you feel yourself getting upset or angry, politely ask for a break to compose yourself. And never lose your temper or raise your voice.

After the Interview

Once the interview is over, be sure to follow up on a few things:

  • Review Your Testimony: Ask to review a transcript of your testimony. Verify it’s accurate and request any necessary corrections.
  • Send Thank You Notes: Send polite thank you notes to the investigators reaffirming your cooperation. Include your business card as a reminder of how to contact you.
  • Confer with Your Attorney: Debrief with your attorney about how the interview went. Discuss any clarifications that need to be made.

With proper preparation and knowledge of your rights, you can get through an FTC investigation interview. Stay calm, stick to the facts you know, and politely assert your constitutional rights when needed. Handled properly, you can survive the interview with your legal interests protected. It may feel intimidating, but having the right information and approach can help you get through it. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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