Advertising, Data Collection & Privacy
Arent Fox has developed for its fashion and luxury goods clients processes for the collection of customer data at store fronts and via the Internet. In this regard, we have assisted clients with the implementation of global privacy policies that allow for the transfer of customer and employee data across borders and for the use of that data for all types of purposes, from internal uses to marketing to data mining. On the advertising side, we review our clients’ advertisements for claims and comparisons. Our attorneys have also worked with our clients in global sweepstakes and contests to gather consumer data and promote their brand.
What’s the News?
Before leaving office, President Obama signed into law the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (CRFA), which protects consumers engaging in consumer reviews. The CRFA voids a contract if it prohibits or restricts an individual from reviewing a seller's goods, services, or conduct.
Who is Affected?
All companies that have the prohibited clauses (see below) in their consumer contracts will have to review and update these contracts for compliance with the CRFA.
Last week, a California appellate court held that consumers can proceed with a class action suit against Banana Republic for false advertising arising from posted signs that advertised a 40-percent off sale without disclosing that the discount only applied to certain items. This decision will raise red flags for retailers because the customers had learned the truth about the discount’s limitations at the cash register before making their purchases.
What’s New? (The GDPR.)
Recent reports indicate that advertising fraud is not only increasing but is now being run by groups alongside otherwise legitimate advertising businesses.
Under a proposed EU regulation, online retail companies in Europe may no longer be able to use geo-tracking in online shopping. The European Commission released a draft regulation on May 25, 2016 that proposes the removal of geo-blocking for online shopping, stating that it wants to ensure that consumers seeking to buy products and services in an EU country, be it online or in person, are not discriminated against in terms of access to prices, sales, or payment conditions.
Store credits not redeemable for cash are not unclaimed property under California's Unclaimed Property Law (UPL). In Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. v. Chiang, Case No. 37-2014-12491 (Super Ct. San Diego, Cal. Mar. 4, 2016), the Superior Court issued summary judgment in favor of the national retail chain, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., holding that merchandise credits not redeemable for cash are not subject to the UPL and also qualify for an exemption under the UPL for gift certificates that do not expire.
ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP
Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.