Congress Members Slam FTC Over Sunday Riley Settlement, But Attorney Says Criticism Is ‘Overstated’
US lawmakers and even two FTC commissioners are critical of the agency’s proposed settlement with skin-care marketer Sunday Riley, which allegedly misled consumers for almost two years with sham product reviews posted to Sephora.com. According to Venable partner Alexandra Megaris, the company isn’t exactly getting off easy, and broader industry compliance is likely to improve as a result.
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US FTC commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter maintain that the agency’s no-money, no-fault settlement with Sunday Riley Skincare, now finalized, sends a message of FTC permissiveness regarding fake online reviews that artificially boost brands’ standing and product sales.
FTC Busts Sunday Riley Skincare For Fake Sephora Reviews, But Not All Its Commissioners Are Satisfied
For close to two years, Sunday Riley management allegedly led a company-wide practice of posting glowing reviews of its products on Sephora.com without proper disclosures. The company is barred from repeating such conduct under terms reached with the FTC, but two dissenting commissioners say the settlement falls short of what’s needed to address a growing problem.
The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act, reintroduced in the US House, exceeds the proposed Personal Care Products Safety Act in the Senate in terms of the duties and resource demands it would impose on companies and the FDA, while leaving states free to regulate cosmetics even more stringently. The proposal now must vie for the attention of the Energy and Commerce Committee.