In the following matter, the Commission has authorized the General Counsel to pursue an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and has also voted to issue a Part 3 administrative complaint: FTC v. H.J. Heinz Co. This matter concerns the proposed merger of H.J. Heinz Company and Milnot Holding Company, the owner of Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, the nation's second and third largest manufacturers of jarred baby food, respectively. In July 2000 the Commission authorized staff to seek a preliminary injunction of the merger pending the filing of an administrative complaint, contending that the transaction would violate U.S. antitrust laws and illegally reduce competition in the market for jarred baby food. The complaint seeking injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which denied the FTC's request. The FTC then sought an emergency stay from the Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit. On November 8, 2000, the Court of Appeals enjoined the transaction, pending its ruling on the Commission's appeal.
The Commission vote to authorize the General Counsel to pursue the appeal was 3-1-1, with Commissioner Sheila Anthony abstaining and Commissioner Orson Swindle dissenting. The vote to issue a Part 3 administrative complaint was 3-2, with Commissioners Anthony and Swindle dissenting. (File No. 001-0137; staff contacts are Molly Boast, Senior Deputy Director, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3300 and David C. Shonka, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2436; see press release dated July 7, 2000 and statement dated November 8, 2000.)
The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice regarding the following: The ceiling on allowable charges for certain disclosures under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As detailed in the notice, which will be published shortly, the ceiling on allowable charges for certain disclosures under the FCRA, Section 612(a)(1)(A), will remain at $8.50 during 2001. This section of the Act, as amended in 1996, provides that (with some exceptions) a consumer reporting agency may charge a reasonable amount for making a disclosure to the consumer, provided the charge does not exceed a statutory maximum and is indicated to the consumer before the disclosure is made. The Act provides that the charge may not exceed $8.00, adjusted annually for inflation, with fractional changes rounded to the nearest 50 cents. The allowable charge first rose from $8.00 to $8.50 on January 1, 2000. The Commission vote to publish the notice in the Federal Register was 5-0. (File No. P974804; staff contact is Keith B. Anderson, Bureau of Economics, 202-326-3428.)
Staff of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce (DOC) have issued a report on the following: The joint FTC/DOC workshop on Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Online Consumer Transactions held last summer. The report summarizes the key themes that emerged from the workshop, including: 1) finding global solutions to problems arising from international e-commerce transactions; 2) pursuing technological innovation in ADR programs; 3) pursuing multiple ADR programs; 4) ensuring fairness and effectiveness of ADR programs; 5) consumer and business education about ADR; and 6) combating fraud and deceptive practices related to ADR. Copies of the report are available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/altdisresolution/index.htm. (FTC file no. P994313; staff contact is Maneesha Mithal, 202-326-2771.)
Copies of the documents mentioned in this release 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 https://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. 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.
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