30 June 2000

Retailers trading both online and off were warned yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission that it is keeping an eagle eye on the growing use of customer rebates.

In particular, says the FTC, it is the retailers who advertise and are legally responsible for the rebates – even though the rebates may be funded by brand marketers.

Recent miscreants include Buy.com, Office Depot and Value America – all three accused by the FTC of failing fully or adequately to disclose all the terms for rebates. In the case of the latter retailer, it had also failed to provide rebates for computers in a reasonable time period. All three companies have now settled their cases.

FTC officials pointed out that the ads for the offending trio differed little from those of competitors and said they hoped the enforcement cases would prompt other retailers to put their houses in order.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline