Statutes Enforced by the FTC

FTC defense attorney Richard B. Newman focuses upon advertising and marketing regulatory compliance and litigation matters.  He is highly sought after because of his representative experience, intimate familiarity with the marketing industry, solid relationships with regulatory agencies, and in-depth understanding of the  Federal Trade Commission’s investigative and law enforcement authority.

The FTC’s primary statute is the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58, as amended).  Pursuant to the Act, the agency is empowered, among other things, to: (i) prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce; (ii) seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers; (iii) prescribe rules defining with specificity acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive, and establishing requirements designed to prevent such acts or practices; (iv) gather and compile information and conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce; and (v) make reports and legislative recommendations to Congress and the public.

Many statutes set forth below are enforced under the FTC Act.  The following is not intended to, nor should it be, construed as a comprehensive list of statutes enforced by the FTC.

Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 12-27, as amended)

Pursuant to Sections 3, 7 and 8 of this Act, the FTC is responsible for preventing and eliminating unlawful tying contracts, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and interlocking directorates. This Act was amended by the Robinson-Patman Act, under which the FTC is authorized to prevent certain practices involving discriminatory pricing and product promotion.

Better Online Ticket Sales Act (15 U.S.C. § 45c)

The BOTS Act prohibits the circumvention of a security measure, access control system, or other technological control measure used online by a ticket issuer. It also prohibits selling or offering to sell an event ticket obtained through such a circumvention violation if the seller participated in, had the ability to control, or should have known about the violation. It applies to event tickets for public concerts, theater performances, sporting events, and similar activities at venues with seating capacity of over 200.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6506)

COPPA is intended to protect children’s privacy by giving parents tools to control what information is collected from their children online. It requires the Commission to promote regulations requiring operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children under 13 or knowingly collecting personal information from children under 13 to: (i) notify parents of their information practices; (ii) obtain verifiable parental consent for the collection, use, or disclosure of children’s personal information; (iii) let parents prevent further maintenance or use or future collection of their child’s personal information; (iv) provide parents access to their child’s personal information; (v) not require a child to provide more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in an activity; and (vi) maintain reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the personal information.

Consumer Review Fairness Act (15 U.S.C. § 45b)

CRFA makes provisions of form contracts between sellers and individual consumers void from inception if the provisions: (i) prohibit or restrict individuals from reviewing sellers’ goods, services, or conduct; (ii) impose penalties or fees on individuals for such reviews; or (iii) require individuals to transfer intellectual property rights in such reviews. It also prohibits sellers from offering form contracts that include such provisions. The Act contains various exceptions.

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C §§ 7701-7713)

The CAN-SPAM Act establishes requirements for those that send unsolicited commercial email. It prohibits false or misleading header information and prohibits deceptive subject lines. It imposes other requirements, including, but not limited to: (i) that unsolicited commercial email be identified as advertising; and (ii) that recipients be provided a method for opting out of receiving any such email in the future.

Do-Not-Call Registry Legislation (15 U.S.C. §§ 6151-6155)

The Do-Not-Call Implementation Act authorizes the FTC to collect fees for the implementation and enforcement of a Do-Not-Call Registry.  Pursuant to the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the FTC is authorized to implement and enforce a Do-Not-Call Registry.

Electronic Fund Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1693-1693r)

EFTA establishes the rights, liabilities and responsibilities of participants in electronic fund transfer systems. It requires financial institutions to adopt certain practices respecting such matters as transaction accounting, and error resolution, requires financial institutions and others to have certain procedures for preauthorized transfers, and sets liability limits for losses caused by unauthorized transfers. The EFTA is often cited in conjunction with Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act actions.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1691-1691f)

The ECOA prohibits discrimination on the  basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, receipt of public assistance, or good faith exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It requires creditors to provide applicants, upon request, with the reasons underlying decisions to deny credit.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p)

The FDCPA prohibits third-party debt collectors from using deceptive or abusive conduct in the collection of consumer debts incurred for personal, family, or household purposes.  For example, collectors may subject debtors to repeated telephone calls, threaten legal action that is not actually contemplated or reveal to other persons the existence of debts.

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1451-1461)

This FPLA authorizes the FTC to issue regulations requiring that all consumer commodities other than food, drugs, therapeutic devices, and cosmetics be labeled to disclose net contents, identity of commodity, and name and place of business of the product’s manufacturer, packer, or distributor.  It authorizes additional regulations where necessary to prevent consumer deception (or to facilitate value comparisons) with respect to descriptions of ingredients, slack fill of packages, use of “cents-off” or lower price labeling, or characterization of package sizes.

Contact an experienced advertising law attorney to discuss the statutes enforced or administered by the Federal Trade Commission.