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direction on how to avoid unfair or deceptive acts or practices.5 Many rules and guides
address claims about products or services or advertising in general and apply to online 3. The Commission’s authority covers virtually every sector of the economy, except for certain excluded
industries, such as common carrier activities and the business of insurance, airlines, and banks.
4. The Commission issues rules pursuant to Section 5 of the FTC Act when it has reason to believe that certain
unfair or deceptive acts or practices are prevalent in an industry. 15 U.S.C. § 57a(a)(1)(B). In addition, the
Commission promulgates rules pursuant to specific statutes, which are designed to further particular policy
5. Guides are “administrative interpretations of laws administered by the Commission.” 16 C.F.R. § 1.5.
Although guides do not have the force and effect of law, if a person or company fails to comply with a guide,
the Commission might bring an enforcement action alleging an unfair or deceptive practice in violation of the
FTC Act. 2 Federal Trade Commission advertising, as well as to other media.6 Therefore, the plain language of many rules and
guides applies to claims made online.7 For example, the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise
6. The following rules and guides are included in this category: Guides for the Nursery Industry (16 C.F.R.
Part 18); Guides for the Rebuilt, Reconditioned and Other Used Automobile Parts Industry (16 C.F.R. Part
20); Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries (16 C.F.R. Part 23); Guides for Select
Leather and Imitation Leather Products (16 C.F.R. Part 24); Guides Against Deceptive Pricing (16 C.F.R.
Part 233); Guides Against Bait Advertising (16 C.F.R. Part 238); Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and
Guarantees (16 C.F.R. Part 239); Guide Concerning Use of the Word “Free” and Similar Representations (16
C.F.R. Part 251); Guides for Private Vocational and Distance Education Schools (1...
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- Spring '14