How the FTC Guidelines Help Consumers Recognize Honest Product Endorsements


FTC Endorsement Guides assist consumers in recognizing honest product endorsements. In addition, these Guides require advertisers to disclose any material relationships between themselves and sellers of the products being endorsed.

Failing to disclose is an immense liability that can damage a brand, damage consumer trust, and result in fines. Therefore, it’s crucial that when writing reviews and endorsements, you be transparent with readers.


FTC truth-in-advertising rules cover both express and implied claims. For example, an infomercial that exaggeratedly promotes its product while failing to provide enough details can be held liable for deceptive advertising practices by both its marketer and producer of an infomercial.

Disclosure of qualifying information should be clear and conspicuous to avoid misimpression. Acceptable print disclosures in small font size, disclaimers buried within text unrelated to what’s being qualified, or brief video superscripts that flash across too quickly won’t do the trick.

Disclosures applicable to multiple native ads on a publisher site should be presented separately as it can be difficult for consumers to distinguish which content items are ads from one another. Background shading alone might not be sufficient to identify some advertisements from others on a website; thus, advertisers might use additional visual cues, like a distinct border that separates native ads from other items on a webpage.


As well as adhering to general truth-in-advertising principles, the FTC’s Endorsement Guides make clear that endorsements and testimonials must reflect honest opinions from endorsers and witnesses. Any material relationships between an endorser and marketers must also be disclosed.

Misrepresenting products or services through aspirational language like “I want this car” in an advertisement for sports cars violates advertising guidelines. Also, any endorsement claims to have yielded exceptional or above-average results (e.g., losing 20 pounds in two months) should be disclosed by endorsing.

Disclosures should be clearly and conspicuously presented to consumers. You shouldn’t rely on social media’s built-in disclosure tool alone; you should superimpose your disclosure over photos or videos and post it within their description so all viewers can see it.

Mail Order

The FTC’s Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule requires merchants making shipment representations to provide an objective basis for those claims – meaning their promises can be fulfilled based on objective criteria rather than crossed fingers and wishful thinking. In addition, when fulfilling an order is delayed, consumers must receive sufficient advance notification and be given a chance to cancel and get prompt refunds of their orders.

Brands often don’t understand these rules, yet they should embrace them to deliver superior pre-order experiences. Being transparent about meeting regulations builds consumer trust, but failing to abide by them could result in costly civil penalties and redress awards; hence companies must maintain supporting documentation showing proof of shipment representations, fulfillment systems, and recordkeeping measures as soon as they notice issues with meeting regulations.


The Federal Trade Commission enforces laws to safeguard consumer interests and maintain an efficient marketplace. They strive to prevent monopolies, dismantle anticompetitive mergers and take legal action against unfair or deceptive business practices.

When using pre-acquired account information in telemarketing transactions with free-to-pay conversion offers, express informed consent of the customer must be secured to charge. This requires disclosing all costs involved with buying, receiving, or using goods and services offered during this transaction and verifying the last four digits of her account number with what she provides you.

Telemarketing transactions using payment methods other than credit or debit cards require explicit, verifiable authorization from consumers before proceeding, such as remote-created payment orders and checks, cash reload mechanisms, and cash-to-cash money transfers. You must inform consumers exactly what steps they must take to prevent charges for goods or services they did not authorize.