The Federal Trade Commission and Ireland’s Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs (ODCA) today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate enhanced law enforcement cooperation in the consumer protection area between the two agencies. The signing was announced in Helsinki, Finland, at a two-day meeting of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), an organization of the consumer protection authorities from 31 countries, and representatives from the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
With the emergence of the Internet, consumers are engaging in cross-border transactions more extensively than ever. Consequently, a greater need for cross-border law enforcement cooperation exists, as acknowledged by the OECD in the “Guidelines for Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent and Deceptive Commercial Practices Across Borders” issued earlier this year.
The FTC is working to strengthen international efforts to combat fraud and deception better through organizations like ICPEN and agreements like the Memorandum of Understanding announced today.
This Memorandum of Understanding, similar to those the FTC already has signed with consumer protection authorities in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, provides for enhanced cooperation between both agencies on consumer protection matters. This “best efforts” agreement is not legally binding and does not change existing law in either country.
The Commission vote to approve the agreement was 5-0.
Copies of the agreement are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.
(FTC Matter No. P994313)
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International Division of Consumer Protection