Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices in Ecommerce: A Warning for Marketers

– Many marketers have not reviewed the FTC’s guidelines on Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices.
– Case studies, often used for marketing purposes, fall under the FTC guidelines and can be misleading.
– Marketers who recommend products and advise on ecommerce tools may be held responsible for deceptive claims and implementation.Ensure that you review the FTC’s guidelines on Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices and take responsibility for the claims and implementation of the products or services you recommend to clients.The number of marketers who have never reviewed the FTC’s guidelines on Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices would surprise you. Recently, one company has come up on my feed and is being promoted by the usual group of suspects in ecommerce, but the results simply don’t make any sense to me. So, I decided to read a case study. In the past, people have told me that case studies were just “marketing” and that no one should take them entirely seriously. However, if they are advertising materials, they fall under the FTC Guidelines regarding Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices. The new trend is to have a lot of “industry advisors,” which is a polite way of saying paid shills. Most paid advisors feel as if they have no responsibility for the behavior of the companies they endorse. But that’s not entirely true. You see, most of these advisors are marketing agencies who promote these tools to their clients. Here’s a quote from the FTC:

“Sellers are responsible for claims they make about their products and services. Third parties – such as advertising agencies or website designers and catalog marketers – may also be liable for making or disseminating deceptive representations if they participate in the preparation or distribution of the advertising, or know about the deceptive claims.”

If you’re recommending the product to clients and advising on the underlying ecommerce tool, you could be responsible for their claims and implementation for your client. So, why does this matter? Yesterday, I read a case study and then conducted some research into companies using this technology. What I found was an entire business model that appeared, in my opinion, to be built around intentionally deceiving consumers. By the way, the FTC has released a lot of great information about dark patterns lately, which will likely impact ecommerce as well. You should look it up. I checked multiple websites listed, and the story was the same – the things that are normally legally required were not present on any of the websites as required. If you’re putting your name as an advisor on something, you’re on the hook if you present it to a client. With more and more people becoming “advisors” to apps, we’re going to see some changes sweep through the industry. But here’s the part that bothers me the most: the biggest losers in all of this are the stores. These apps put them at risk without them even realizing it. #ecommerce #marketinghttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jivanco

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