Federal Trade Commission.
Proposed Consent Agreement.
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The attached Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.
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Comments must be received on or before April 7, 2014.
Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/adtconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “ADT LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1223121” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/adtconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Michelle Rusk, Bureau of Consumer Protection, (202-326-3148), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.
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Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for March 6, 2014), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.
You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before April 7, 2014. Write “ADT LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1223121” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.
Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential,” as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.
If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.
Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/adtconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.
If you file your comment on paper, write “ADT LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1223121” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail or deliver it to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.
Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from ADT LLC, also doing business as ADT Security Services (“ADT”).
The proposed consent order (“proposed order”) has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement's proposed order.
This matter involves ADT's use of paid spokespersons to promote the ADT Pulse home security system in appearances on national and local television and radio news programs and talk shows. The Commission's complaint alleges that the paid spokespersons were identified on air as experts in child safety, home security, or technology. The experts demonstrated and provided favorable reviews of the ADT Pulse as part of news segments on topics related to their expertise. In most of these appearances, there was no mention of any connection between the experts and ADT. The complaint also alleges that ADT used these paid spokespersons to promote the ADT Pulse in what appeared to be independent and objective reviews on the spokesperson's own Web site, in blog posts, and in other online materials. The complaint alleges that ADT violated Section 5 by misrepresenting that the demonstrations and discussions of the features and benefits of the ADT Pulse were independent reviews by impartial experts. The complaint further alleges that ADT violated Section 5 by failing Start Printed Page 13653to disclose that the experts were ADT's paid spokespersons.
The proposed order includes injunctive relief to address these alleged violations and requires ADT to follow certain monitoring and compliance procedures related to its use of paid spokespersons.
Part I of the proposed order prohibits ADT, in connection with the advertising of any security or monitoring product or service, from misrepresenting that a discussion or demonstration of such product or service is an independent review provided by an impartial expert.
Part II of the proposed order requires ADT, in connection with the advertising of any security or monitoring product by means of an endorsement, to disclose clearly and prominently a material connection, if one exists, between the endorser and ADT.
Part III of the proposed order requires ADT to take all reasonable steps to remove, within seven days of service of the order, any demonstration, review, or endorsement, by an endorser with a material connection to ADT, that does not comply with Parts I and II of the order.
Part IV of the proposed order sets out certain monitoring and compliance obligations that ADT must meet with respect to any endorser with a material connection to ADT, including: obtaining signed acknowledgements from such endorsers that they will disclose their connection to ADT; monitoring the endorsers' media appearances and online reviews; terminating endorsers who fail to disclose their connection to ADT; and maintaining records of its monitoring efforts.
Parts V through VIII of the proposed order require ADT to: Keep copies of relevant consumer complaints and inquiries and documents demonstrating order compliance; provide copies of the order to officers, employees, and others with responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of the order; notify the Commission of changes in corporate structure that might affect compliance obligations under the order; and file compliance reports with the Commission.
Part IX provides that the order will terminate after twenty (20) years, with certain exceptions.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order, and it is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the complaint or proposed order, or to modify the proposed order's terms in any way.
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By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 2014-05262 Filed 3-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P