Advertising law news briefs.
Advertising law news briefs.
Your News Your Way: Every Day!


Note:This website is where you can find advertising law information based on archived news briefs from past issues of Advertising Compliance Service. These archived advertising law-related news briefs were published in Advertising Compliance Service in November 2003.





Advertising Disclosures
Car Ads
Car Loans
Children's Ads
Comparative Ads
Consumer Lease
Deceptive Pricing
Diet Programs
Diet Supplements
E-Mail Ads
Eye Care
Eye Surgery
Food Ads
Health Claims
Hearing Aids
Home Financing
Indoor Tanning
Internet Ads
Internet Mktng.
Infertility Svcs.
Made in USA #1
Made in USA #2
Made in USA #3
Made in USA #4
MLM #1
MLM #2
Precious Metals
Retail Electricity
Timeshare Tips
Use of Word "Free"
Vacation Plans
Varicose Veins
Yellow Pages

Our Related Websites

Advertising Compliance Service

Advertising Substantiation

Ad Substantiation

Green Advertising Law

Political Advertising Law


The Southern District Court granted a law firm's motion for judgment on the pleadings in a case involving the Lanham Act. The plaintiff in this case, Agatha Brown is a fashion designer. She alleged that defendants Michel Quiniou and the companies he owns, Agatha Diffusion S.r.L. and Sixteen, Inc. have infringed upon her trademark in the registered mark "AGATHA." The complaint also named as defendant Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C., a law firm that provided Brown with representation until November 1987, and that shortly thereafter began to represent defendants Quiniou et al.

One of the causes of action in this case alleged false advertising, in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1125(a)(1)(B). The Court concluded that claims for trademark infringement had to be dismissed since the law firm didn't have "goods" of the type in question here.

(Agatha Brown v. Michel Quiniou, Agatha Diffusion, S.R.L. Sixteen, Inc. and Fross Zellnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C., No. 02 Civ. 4630 (CBM), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19766, November 4, 2003.)


A federal district court temporarily halted the business practices of Peoples Credit First, LLC, Consumer Preferred, LLC (formerly known as Consumer First, LLC), and their principals Shaun Olmstead and Julie Connell. Reason: They allegedly ran an advance fee credit card scam. FTC filed charges against defendants citing that they violated the FTC Act by representing expressly or by implication that consumers were likely to get unsecured, a major credit card, like a Visa or MasterCard, in exchange for an advance fee payment. FTC obtained a temporary restraining order with an asset freeze and other equitable relief.

FTC charged that defendants' fraudulent business practices resulted in injury to thousands of consumers across the U.S. According to FTC, defendants mailed letters to consumers that promise a "platinum card" with a $5000 credit limit and no initial "APR" for a $45 fee, or $49 for "rush delivery."

Defendants' letters carried the distinctive title "ACCEPTANCE CERTIFICATE" and inform consumers that they've already been approved to receive the platinum card with the substantial credit line. Defendants' letter allegedly also said that no application or credit check is needed if they sign the acceptance certificate and return it along with a check or money order.

FTC alleged that these solicitations led consumers to believe that they would get a major credit card, like a Visa or MasterCard. Instead, what they allegedly received was a package that contained a merchandise catalogue, a brochure describing how to order from the catalogue, and a thin, plastic card with the consumers' name and an account number on it. After receiving the package of materials, many consumers had difficulty contacting defendants to cancel, and those who were able to contact the defendants were denied refunds or told that they were no longer entitled to a refund, FTC alleged.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, on November 10, 2003.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.

(FTC v. Peoples Credit First, LLC., et al., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division; Civil Action No: 8:03CV2353, FTC File No. 032 3079, November 20, 2003.)


FTC filed a complaint in federal court charging that a national organization that promotes itself as a non-profit credit counseling agency is engaged in deceptive practices. According to FTC's complaint, defendants misrepresented that they--

  • charge no up-front fee for their services,
  • operate as a non-profit, and
  • teach consumers how to handle their finances.

FTC's complaint charged AmeriDebt, Inc.; DebtWorks, Inc.; and Andris Pukke; and also names Pamela Pukke (a/k/a Pamela Shuster) as a relief defendant. AmeriDebt widely advertised its credit-counseling services nationally.

FTC's complaint also alleges that defendants charge an up-front fee to consumers enrolling in a DMP, despite claims to the contrary in their advertising. Defendants allegedly urge consumers to make an initial payment to enroll formally in the program. Rather than disbursing that payment to creditors, FTC alleges, AmeriDebt keeps it as its fee. While the contract with consumers refers to this payment, it's described as "voluntary" and is inconsistent with the earlier claims that there are no up-front fees.

FTC's complaint asks that the court permanently enjoin defendants from misrepresenting their fees, services, or non-profit status; require that the defendants disclose that they retain the consumer's first payment; and order the defendants to provide privacy notices to consumers. The complaint also asks that the court award consumer redress.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.

The stipulated final order for Ballenger Group is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.

(Federal Trade Commission v. AmeriDebt, Inc., DebtWorks, Inc., Andris Pukke, and Pamela Pukke, also known as Pamela Shuster (District of Maryland), FTC File No. 0223171, November 19, 2003; Federal Trade Commission v. Ballenger Group, LLC, and Ballenger Holdings, LLC (District of Maryland), FTC File No. 0223171, November 19, 2003.)
















Main Archived News Index:

1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 |
2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003

Archived 2003 News:

January | February | March | April | May | June July | August | September | October | November | December



Advertising Compliance Service...

Advertising Compliance Service.



JLCom Publishing Co., L.L.C. is the publisher of Advertising Compliance Service™. For over 34 years (1981-2015),Advertising Compliance Service™ was the authoritative - and comprehensive - source of information for advertising law practitioners, advertisers and advertising agencies -- and their attorneys. One of the 27 advertising law-related topics that were regularly covered by this newsletter/reference service was found in Tab #1, the Bulletin section, and is entitled, "Brief News of Note."

JLCom Publishing Co., LLC, publisher of Advertising Compliance Service, a newsletter / reference service for advertising law attorneys, including in-house counsel and outside counsel, to help them make sure their advertiser clients comply with laws involving false, unfair and deceptive acts.

© Copyright 2003-2014 JLCom Publishing Co., L.L.C. All rights reserved.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Materials included in this Web Site are intended for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide - and do not constitute - legal or other advice. Persons who need legal or other services should contact a duly licensed professional. The inclusion of links on this Website are to Websites that are maintained by third parties over whom JLCom Publishing Co., LLC has no control. Such links do not imply endorsement of the material that's contained therein. JLCom Publishing Co., LLC makes no claims, representations, or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or appropriateness of these Web Sites or the information these websites contain. Read this disclaimer and our privacy statement before using this site.