Statutes Enforced or Administered by the Commission
The Commission has enforcement or administrative responsibilities under more than 70 laws. They are grouped here in three categories: (a) Statutes relating to both the competition and consumer protection missions; (b) statutes relating principally to the competition mission; and (c) statutes relating principally to the consumer protection mission.
The Federal Trade Commission Act is the primary statute of the Commission. Under this Act, the Commission is empowered, among other things, to (a) prevent unfair methods of competition, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce; (b) seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers; (c) prescribe trade regulation rules defining with specificity acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive, and establishing requirements designed to prevent such acts or practices; (d) conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce; and (e) make reports and legislative recommendations to Congress.
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This Act amends the Truth in Lending Act in various respects, including requiring certain creditors to disclose on the front of billing statements a minimum monthly payment warning for consumers and a toll-free telephone number, established and maintained by the Commission, for consumers seeking information on the time required to repay specific credit balances.
The Commission is charged under Sections 3, 7 and 8 of this Act with preventing and eliminating unlawful tying contracts, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and interlocking directorates. The statute was amended by the Robinson-Patman Act, 49 Stat. 1528, 15 U.S.C. §§ 13, 13b, and 21a, under which the Commission is authorized to prevent certain specified practices involving discriminatory pricing and product promotion
This Act requires the FTC, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Education to jointly submit a report to Congress each year on fraud in the offering of college education financial assistance services. Each report must contain an assessment of the nature and quantity of incidents of such fraud during the previous year. The FTC is also directed to work with the Secretary of Education in maintaining a scholarship fraud awareness site on the Department of Education's website.
This Act, as amended by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (see below), requires manufacturers, packagers, and importers of smokeless tobacco products to place one of four statutorily-prescribed health-related warning labels on product packages and in advertisements, on a rotational basis, as approved by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the Act prohibits any advertising of smokeless tobacco products on radio and television. The Commission is authorized to enforce against violations of the Act.
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, regulates personal property leases that exceed 4 months in duration and that are made to consumers for personal, family, or household purposes. The statute requires that certain lease costs and terms be disclosed, imposes limitations on the size of penalties for delinquency or default and on the size of residual liabilities, and requires certain disclosures in lease advertising.
This Act establishes requirements for those who send unsolicited commercial email. The Act bans false or misleading header information and prohibits deceptive subject lines. It also requires that unsolicited commercial email provide recipients with a method for opting out of receiving such email and must be identified as an advertisement. In addition to enforcing the statute, the FTC must issue rules involving the required labeling of sexually explicit commercial email and the criteria for determining the primary purpose of a commercial email. The Act also instructs the Commission to report to Congress on the feasibility of a National Do-Not-E-Mail Registry, as well as requiring reports on the labeling of all unsolicited commercial email, the creation of a "bounty system" to promote enforcement of the law, and the effectiveness and enforcement of the statute.
This Act (a) amends the Truth in Lending Act to prescribe open-end credit lending procedures and enhanced disclosures to consumers, limit related fees and charges to consumers, increase related penalties, and establish constraints and protections for issuance of credit cards to minors and students; (b) amends the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to address fees and other terms of gift certificates, store gift cards, and general-use prepaid cards; (c) amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act by requiring FTC rulemaking to mandate that advertisements for free credit reports disclose that free credit reports are available under Federal law at annualcreditreport.com; and (d) amends the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act mortgage-related rulemaking provisions to clarify the FTC's rulemaking authority under that act. This Act also requires other rulemaking, studies and activities involving FTC participation.
This Act, Pub. L. No. 104-208, § 2451, 110 Stat. 3009-455 (Sept. 30, 1996), amending title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, prohibits untrue or misleading representations and requires certain affirmative disclosures in the offering or sale of "credit repair" services. The Act bars "credit repair" companies from demanding advance payment, requires that "credit repair" contracts be in writing, and gives consumers certain contract cancellation rights.
This Act amends the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6108, to require the FTC to have in its telemarketing rules a definition of deceptive telemarketing practices that includes fraudulent charitable solicitations. The Act further specifies that the FTC's telemarketing rules must include a requirement that anyone engaged in telemarketing for the solicitation of charitable contributions must clearly disclose that as the purpose of the call and authorizes the FTC to prescribe other disclosures it considers appropriate.
Under Section 103(d) of this Act (30 U.S.C. § 1413(d)), the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce must provide the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission with an opportunity to review and make recommendations concerning the antitrust implications of proposed licenses for the extraction of minerals from deep seabed sites.
Under Section 7 of this Act (33 U.S.C. § 1506), the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission provide reports to Secretary of Transportation assessing the expected competitive effects of proposed licenses for deepwater ports.
Defense Production Act of 1950Mission: Competition
Section 708 of this Act (50 U.S.C. App. §§ 2158, 2158a) requires the Commission and the Department of Justice to participate in developing, implementing, and monitoring voluntary agreements established by oil companies to deal with emergency domestic oil shortages.
The Do-Not Call Registry Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. § 6151; originally codified at 15 U.S.C. § 6101 note) expressly authorized the FTC under section 3(a)(3)(A) of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act to implement and enforce the Do-Not-Call Registry, and ratified the Registry provision of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. 310.4(b)(1)(iii) (which became effective on March 31, 2003). The Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. § 6152 et seq.; originally codified at § 6101 note) authorized the FTC to set and collect Registry fees for fiscal years 2003 through 2007; required the FCC to issue a compatible Do-Not-Call rule; and directed the FTC and the FCC to submit an annual report on the Registry for fiscal years 2003 through 2007 to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The Do-Not-Call Registry Fee Extension Act of 2007 (15 U.S.C. § 6154) amended the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act to specify by statute the Registry fees for telemarketers, and revised the report requirements in the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act (above). The Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007 (15 U.S.C. § 6155) further amended the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act to prohibit the automatic expiration of Registry listings.
Title X of this Act creates a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection within the Federal Reserve Board as a new supervisor for certain financial firms and as a rulemaker and enforcer against unfair, deceptive, abusive, or otherwise prohibited practices relating to most consumer financial products or services. The Act preserves most of the FTC's authority over financial practices, transferring most of its rulemaking and some reporting responsibilities under specified consumer financial laws to the Bureau, and providing for FTC/Bureau coordination regarding certain rulemaking and enforcement activities. The Act provides authority for each agency to enforce some of the other's rules with respect to consumer financial practices. The Act also authorizes FTC rulemaking for motor vehicle dealers under standard Administrative Procedure Act procedures rather than the procedures set forth in the FTC Act. In addition, the Act amends the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to provide for limitations on interchange transaction fees and on the constraints that credit and debit card networks may impose on retailers, and to provide standards for remittance fee practices. It amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require the provision of credit scores to consumers in connection with denials or less favorable offers of credit. It also provides for improved financial disclosures, including integration of mortgage disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
Title XIV of the Act amends the Truth in Lending Act and other consumer financial laws to prevent mortgage-related abuses and to ensure availability of responsible, affordable mortgage credit. It addresses compensation-based incentives; inappropriate steering, discrimination, and other abusive, unfair, deceptive or predatory practices; minimum federal lending standards; high-cost mortgages; mortgage servicing; and appraisals. Title XIV provides a new enforcement role for the FTC regarding home appraisals.
The Act makes it unlawful under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act for any producer, importer, exporter, distributor, or seller of any tuna product that is exported from or offered for sale in the United States to deceptively claim that its tuna is "dolphin safe." The standard for labeling tuna as "dolphin safe" has been loosened by Section 5 of the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (Pub. L. No. 105-42, 111 Stat. 1122).
This statute (Title IX of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of participants in electronic fund transfer systems. The Act 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 Credit CARD Act and the Dodd-Frank Act (see below) made substantial amendments to this Act.
Section 811 of this Act prohibits any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in connection with the wholesale purchase or sale of crude oil, gasoline, or other petroleum distillate in contravention of rules or regulations the Commission may prescribe. Section 205 of the Act requires the Commission to issue rules for the labeling of biodiesel or biodiesel blend fuel sold at retail. Title III of the Act amends the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (see Statutes - Both Missions), providing for Commission rulemaking in specified circumstances regarding energy efficiency labeling for certain heating and cooling equipment, lamps and lighting, consumer electronic products, and other consumer products as appropriate.
This Act amends the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (see Statutes - Both Missions) to require that the Commission issue: (1) disclosure rules to assist consumers in choosing the most efficient incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs; (2) efficiency labeling rules for certain plumbing fixtures; (3) amendments to the Commission's Octane Certification and Posting Rule establishing automotive fuel posting and certification requirements for all liquid automotive fuels, including alternative fuels; and (4) labeling requirements concerning the costs and benefits of non-petroleum alternative fuels and alternative-fueled vehicles. The Act also requires the Commission to enforce energy efficiency labeling rules issued by the Department of Energy for high intensity discharge lamps, distribution transformers, and small electric motors, and gives the Commission contingent authority to issue efficiency labeling rules for windows, commercial office equipment, and luminaries if the Department of Energy finds that it is appropriate to develop energy efficiency testing procedures for such products. The Commission's rules can be found at 16 C.F.R. Parts 305, 306, and 309.
Under this Act, the Commission is required to: (a) issue additional regulations concerning the energy efficiency labeling of certain household appliances (Section 137, amending Section 324(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act); (b) submit to Congress an annual market concentration analysis of the ethanol production industry to determine whether there is sufficient competition among industry participants to avoid anticompetitive behavior (Section 1501); and (c) conduct an investigation to determine if the price of gasoline is being artificially manipulated and to report its findings to Congress (Section 1809). The Act also authorizes the Commission to issue rules on "slamming" and "cramming" to protect the privacy of electricity consumers (Section 1287), and establishes FTC membership on an interagency task force, which must issue a report to Congress on competition within the wholesale and retail market for electric energy in the United States (Section 1815).