The Federal Trade Commission is warning companies across the U.S that if they employ bogus endorsements or misleading reviews to lure customers, they should be prepared to face the consequences.
This week, the federal consumer body unanimously decided to send so-called notices of penalty offenses to more than 700 brands, reminding them of its enforcement powers and cautioning them that deceptive conduct could bring a civil penalty of up to $43,792 per violation.
“Fake reviews and other forms of deceptive endorsements cheat consumers and undercut honest businesses,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, adding that companies “will pay a price if they engage in these deceptive practices.”
The list of companies receiving the FTC warning includes some of the country’s largest advertisers, including Ford, GM, Walmart, Target, Amazon, McDonald’s, Burger King, Mattel and Marriott.
Also receiving the same warnings this month were several major U.S.-based ad agencies including 72andSunny, BBDO, DDB, McCann Worldgroup, Saatchi & Saatchi and Wieden+Kennedy.