Omaha Steaks International Inc. recently became the target of a proposed class action lawsuit, in which the company is accused of charging unreasonable shipping fees that were excessive compared to the company’s actual costs.
E-Commerce, Online Distribution & Fulfillment
What’s the News?
Before leaving office, President Obama signed into law the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (CRFA), which protects consumers engaging in consumer reviews. The CRFA voids a contract if it prohibits or restricts an individual from reviewing a seller's goods, services, or conduct.
Who is Affected?
All companies that have the prohibited clauses (see below) in their consumer contracts will have to review and update these contracts for compliance with the CRFA.
Under a proposed EU regulation, online retail companies in Europe may no longer be able to use geo-tracking in online shopping. The European Commission released a draft regulation on May 25, 2016 that proposes the removal of geo-blocking for online shopping, stating that it wants to ensure that consumers seeking to buy products and services in an EU country, be it online or in person, are not discriminated against in terms of access to prices, sales, or payment conditions.
Last September, we published an alert warning retailers of a looming expansion in the reach of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act that would impose requirements on e-commerce websites to make themselves more accessible to users with a wide variety of disabilities.
- In-app purchasing remains a priority for regulators.
As 2016 gets underway, companies should be mindful that regulators are paying close attention to automatic recurring debit transactions. If reviewing your recurring debit transaction consent procedures was not already one of your New Year’s resolutions, it may be worth making it a late addition.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule at the end of 2015 to ban certain forms of abusive payment methods. The amended rule now bans four previously allowed methods of payment that the FTC determined were commonly used in abusive telemarketing operations. The banned forms of payment include: remotely created checks, remotely created payment orders, cash-to-cash money transfers, and cash reload mechanisms.
Wheelchair ramps and accessible parking spaces soon may not be enough for retailers to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As companies continue to expand their online presence, the number of suits brought against retailers for non-compliance with the ADA has grown, especially litigation related to the websites of large retail chains, many of whose websites allegedly do not allow hearing- or sight-impaired individuals easy access to the services provided by retail websites.
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