The Federal Trade Commission and Costa Rica’s consumer protection authority, the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Commerce (MEIC), have signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote enhanced cooperation in the fight against cross-border fraud. The signing took place in Washington, DC.
The MOU will facilitate greater law enforcement coordination in consumer protection matters affecting both nations. This memorandum is a "best efforts" agreement – it is not legally binding and does not alter either country’s existing consumer protection laws. The MOU’s key provisions include:
Scope of Cooperation: The MOU provides for cooperation in the enforcement of consumer protection laws. In the case of the Unite States, this means "unfair or deceptive acts or practices" embodied in laws enforced by the FTC (except for antitrust laws). In the case of Costa Rica, it refers to relevant chapters of the Law for the Promotion of Competition and Effective Consumer Protection.
Notification of Enforcement Activities: The FTC and MEIC will use their best efforts to notify each other of consumer protection enforcement activities that might affect the agencies’ mutual interest.
Cooperation and Coordination: The agencies will use their best efforts, where appropriate and consistent with their laws, to assist each other in gathering information and coordinating law enforcement activities.
Exchange of Information: The MOU encourages the exchange of information for consumer protection law enforcement purposes, provided it does not conflict with existing limitations on information disclosure.
The FTC is working to promote international consumer protection cooperation on a global level. The agency has also signed MOUs with Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The Commission vote to approve the agreement was 5-0.
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 in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), 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, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
International Consumer Protection Division