Did you fail to disclose information on social media? Don’t make the same “blunder”

Last month, the reality tv star, Kim Kardashian, paid a $1.26 million fine to settle charges brought against her by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failing to disclose that she received $250,000 to promote EthereumMax’s digital tokens, “EMAX tokens,” on social media.

The fine was a “gift” to the SEC, said Lisa Braganca, former enforcement branch chief at the agency: “The SEC is always looking for a way to get the message out to the public, and when somebody with the kind of following that Kim Kardashian has makes a blunder like this … that’s a layup for the SEC”.

In fact, SEC chair Gary Gensler made plain that the high-profile case was picked up by the government agency because Kardashian failed to mention how much she was paid to promote EMAX in an Instagram post—something necessary when promoting securities.

Later, the UK Financial Conduct Authority chair Charles Randell called Kardashian’s post the “financial promotion with the single biggest audience reach in history.”

In the settlement, where she did not admit wrongdoing, Kardashian agreed to cooperate with the SEC’s ongoing investigation and not to promote crypto assets for three years.

But the saga continues: Kim Kardashian and boxer Floyd Mayweather are now apparently set to win a lawsuit brought by disgruntled investors claiming that Kardashian and Mayweather worked to pump up the price of EthereumMax tokens intending to dump them, leaving others out of pocket.

And now, to open November, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald issued a tentative court ruling saying that lawyers for the disgruntled investors were “trying to act like” the SEC. Tentative rulings show how a judge is set to rule in a case before it hits the court.

The takeaway: Failures to disclose are serious, and penalties for such failures can be severe, no matter your intention. Don’t make the same “blunder.”

Supply Chain Charges? Make Them Plain to Your Customers!

Has your business been impacted by supply chain disruptions? Have you responded by imposing additional charges? A recent case involving the paint giant, Sherwin-Williams, makes clear what NOT to do!

Last year, Sherwin-Williams began imposing a 4% surcharge on all consumer purchases in response to COVID-related supply chain costs. Class action plaintiffs in New York now allege they suffered economic injury as a result of a “deceptive bait-and-switch scheme”.

Specifically, customer plaintiffs allege:
❌ Sherwin-Williams’ surcharges were added “covertly” because they weren’t included in listed product prices but were nonetheless tacked on at the register;
❌ no signs or disclosures told them about the 4% surcharge while they were shopping;
❌ they were “often entirely unaware of the surcharge until after paying and checking out”; and
❌ if they’d known about the surcharge, they wouldn’t have bought their paint from Sherwin-Williams.

The TAKE HOME:
📌 Avoid adding “late in process” fees. Price adjustments should be consumer-friendly; customers should know about price adjustments while shopping and not afterwards.
📌 This can be as easy as building adjustments into a retail price that is clearly and conspicuously displayed in-store.
📌 Providing additional pricing or fee information in a transparent way, early in a transaction, can help retailers avoid investigations or lawsuits.

💡Need help making sure your business’ practices comply with the law? Contact us at Your Ad Attorney.

Intuit will pay $141 million as settlement after tricking people to pay for TurboTax

Intuit, the developer of TurboTax, will pay millions of Americans as part of a $141 million settlement with the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The investigation, led by Letitia James of New York, revealed how Intuit tricked people into paying for TurboTax software even though they were eligible to receive it for free. The company admitted no wrongdoing and agreed to pay $141 million to put this matter behind it.

The deal covers those who paid TurboTax for the tax years 2016 to 2018. For each year a person paid for eligible tax filing services, the company will send them approximately $30.

The logistics of distributing the money will be handled by a third party. These payments will be sent by check or electronic services such as PayPal and Venmo. More than 465,000 consumers in Texas are expected to receive restitution payments from Intuit, along with more than 371,000 purchasers in California and more than 176,000 in New York.

Intuit will have to stop marketing TurboTax under “free” ad campaign and make several improvements with its disclosure of products. The company said that it already complies to most of the advertising practices and expects minimal effect from implementing the changes moving forward.

Contact me if you need help making sure your business’s marketing is under compliance with the law!

Are You Shopping Safely Online? Here are 7 tips to help you spot fake online shops.

According to the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) 2021 Online Purchase Scams Report, out of 9,821 unsafe website URLs reported to BBB Scam Tracker, only 11 were found in Google Safe Browsing. 

While harmful sites are being marked and taken down, new ones are being launched daily. Practice safer online shopping with these helpful tips.

1️⃣ Look for the lock

A website is secure when there is a small lock icon on the address bar and “https” in the URL (the s stands for “secure”). While the lock icon doesn’t determine if a website is a scam, it shows the site has some form of protection from being hacked. If the website only has “http” in the URL, do not give your personal or payment information.

2️⃣ Inspect the web address

Fake sites will often have web addresses that are similar to well-known brand names with a letter or character out of place, a different domain extension, or sometimes a subdomain.

3️⃣ Verify site seals

Scammers are great at making a website and email look official by copying official seals and other features. If the business has any trust seals, you can check the validity by looking up the company on the seal’s official website.

4️⃣ Look for contact information and policies

Check for multiple types of contact information, like phone, email, physical address, and online chat. Be cautious of a website that doesn’t have multiple forms of contact.

If a company is selling a product online, it should have a shipping and return policy that’s clear and easy to understand. The website should also have terms and conditions and a privacy policy that explains what information it collects from you, how it’ll use the data, and how it stores the information.

5️⃣ Examine content for spelling and grammar errors

A legitimate business would take great care in making their website look professional. Excessive spelling and grammar errors could be a sign that the website went up quickly.

6️⃣Check the site’s domain age

Fake sites often have a short lifespan before they are taken down. You can find out how long a domain has been active with online tools. If a website is new, be extra careful.

7️⃣ Do your research

Conduct a simple search for company reviews. A legitimate site should have reviews that are recent and detailed about the product or service. Fake reviews are often generic, brief, not descriptive, and sometimes similar to one another.

Search the website’s name with the word “scam.” If others have fallen victim to a fake site, you will likely find these reports.

👉 Find these tips helpful? Like and follow for more!

 

Are your marketing messages READABLE?

Why should we have more readable marketing messages?

1️⃣ More people will read it!

Studies show that content written at the 6th to 8th grade level can have 18% to 75% more readers than writing at the 9th grade level or higher.

2️⃣ People are more likely to share it!

One study shows that content written at the 5th grade level is 15% more likely to be shared compared to average whereas college level material was 20% less likely than average to be shared.

How can you create readable content?

✔️ Target 6th-8th grade readability, if possible.

✔️ Use the readability statistics tool built into Microsoft Word

✔️ Use one of several free online readability tools if you don’t have Word.

Are you Treasuring Your Colleagues?

Expressing gratitude to your colleagues is shown to make YOU happier–not just the recipient of the gratitude!

However, on a typical day, only 10% of people express genuine and thoughtful gratitude to a colleague.

Some research also shows that receiving gratitude makes employees more engaged at work and more likely to help their colleagues!

Try these tips!

✔️ After a meeting, thank those who attended and be specific about what input was helpful.

✔️ Publicly give credit to those who contribute to your work or your team’s work

✔️ Give a thoughtful compliment to someone who has helped you in the past. It’s never too late to say “thank you” and it could be a great way to get back in touch if you haven’t spoken to them in a while!

💫 BONUS: For more, read “Joy at Work” by Marie Kondo and Mark Sonenshein.

Improve Your Marketing with a Marketing Strategy Mission Statement

Q: What’s an example of a marketing strategy mission statement?

A: Here is mine –> “Your Ad Attorney, LLC and Alina Lee strive to provide the best industry tips, marketing law insights, and inspiration for marketing professionals and in-house attorneys to help them achieve successful marketing while reducing their legal risk.”

Q: Why should we create a MARKETING-specific strategy statement like this?

A: It’s like having a compass for your marketing! Don’t wander around the woods hoping to bump into your target audience. Have a clear direction for finding them, attracting them, and keeping them engaged!

The purpose of having a clearly defined content marketing strategy mission statement is to help you better focus on sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain your desired audience to drive profitable customer action–every single time.

Are You using Strong Headlines?

About 60% – 80% of the time, people ONLY read your headlines!

Are you grabbing their attention or losing them?

This HEADLINE ANALYZER tool created by the Advanced Marketing Institute can help! –> https://lnkd.in/dWxssNb

This FREE tool analyzes your headline and shows you if it will connect with your audience in a deep and emotional way. Strong emotions help people to remember you and your message!

Has a lawyer reviewed your Headlines and ADs? Aggressive Headlines can also lead to legal risk!

Contact Your Ad Attorney at alina@youradattorney.com to set up a free 15 min consultation.

Want to reduce your liability risks when calling or texting consumers? Protect your company from TCPA liability with this helpful tool.

☎️ The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has strict rules and penalties for companies that call or text the wrong number, with statutory damages ranging from $500 to 1,500 per call or text. Due to these regulations, companies have paid millions in class action settlements even when the wrong party is contacted unintentionally. 

How can you protect your company from TCPA liability?

🗂On November 1, 2021, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Reassigned Numbers Database (RND) – a database that tracks reassigned cell numbers to prevent consumers from getting unwanted calls intended for the previous owner of the same phone number.

Companies that register and use RND can reduce their liability risks in 2 ways:

✅ They are able to check the database to see if the number to be called was reassigned or placed on the do-not-call registry

✅ They are also protected from any liability that may come from incomplete or incorrect information in the RND

➡️ What are the steps you need to take to be protected from TCPA liability once you’ve registered? You’ll need to show:

・ Consent from the recipient of intended call or text

・ You’ve queried the up-to-date RND database before calling or texting the number

・ You didn’t receive a report from the RND that the number was permanently disconnected on or after the date of consent

– Don’t forget to include third-party vendors who are calling or sending text messages on your behalf when assessing your TCPA compliance. 

👉🏼 Need more guidance on business laws? Contact me to learn more about how my services can help you achieve your business goals!

Want to be happier and healthier? Do these 5 things.

Decrease stress and improve your well-being with these helpful tips.

1️⃣ Give

📚 Did you know giving support can improve your health more than receiving it? In one study, those who gave support felt a dramatic change in how they viewed themselves and life. It even improved their self-esteem, sense of control, and mood.

✔️ Volunteer, show emotional support for those in need, call a friend or loved one, give someone a compliment

2️⃣ Express gratitude

 📚There are countless studies showing that gratitude is beneficial to your happiness, so why not share it with others? Research shows that expressing gratitude not only brings happiness to both parties in the moment but also increases their happiness for months.

✔️ Write a letter, make a call, schedule a video meeting, tell those special people how they impacted your life, helped you, and made you feel

3️⃣ Forgive 

📚Those who forgive tend to feel more in control and have a greater sense of calmness and well-being. If forgiving doesn’t come naturally for you, research shows that forgiving unconditionally is more beneficial than receiving an apology. Stopping the cycle of recreating the physiological stress of the original pain can help you regain control and power over your life. 

✔️ Write about a specific event and create your definition of what forgiveness looks like, practice self-compassion for what you’ve been through, visualize how much better your life would be if you let the pain and anger go

4️⃣ Share a laugh

📚 Laughter is a great way to cope with stress and is linked to physical and mental well-being. Research shows those who use humor to deal with stressful situations have healthier immune systems, are 40% less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke, and live 4.5 years longer than those who don’t. Humor can even heal relationships and bring people closer together.

✔️ Watch a comedy show, share a joke, spend more time with friends who have a good sense of humor, have a playful perspective

5️⃣ Rest

📚 Sleep is probably one of the best things you can do to be healthier and happier that you don’t prioritize enough. Did you know that your brain function begins to fail after 16 hours of being awake? In one study, those who were sleep-deprived showed a 40% decrease in learning ability. Sleep isn’t only important for brain function but also emotional stressors and overall physical health. Your REM sleep helps you to resolve emotional and difficult experiences, and your non-REM sleep is vital to removing toxins from your body. Without sufficient sleep, everything else suffers.

✔️ Have a consistent sleep schedule, relax the mind and body before bed, stay cool at night, get some sunlight in the morning

📌What small steps are you taking towards improving your well-being and those around you?


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