FTC Conducting Deceptive Advertising Enforcement During COVID Pandemic

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission filed a civil action against a Louisiana auto-auction middleman that sent out deceptive mail advertising that purported to be “stimulus relief program” information. According to the FTC, Traffic Jam Events LLC, which manages auto auctions for dealers and does direct-mail marketing on their behalf, sent mailers with fake checks that were designed to look like they were from the federal government.

Using language that mirrored that of federal programs like the CARES Act, Traffic Jam Events urged people to visit a “relief headquarters” location that was actually the location of a car tent sale. As the FTC notes in their summary of the injunction, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, “falsely claiming a connection to legitimate economic stimulus programs” is deceptive and will be shut down.

Marketing companies are subject to unfair practices lawsuits, notes the FTC, and businesses that partner with them also risk legal liability, even if they’re not directly involved in the scheme.

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