“Make it clear and conspicuous.” That’s what the Federal Trade Commission wants businesses to do. The FTC enforces laws that call on businesses to communicate with you in a clear, honest, and effective manner. When we put out information, we want to do the same.
Congress recently passed The Plain Writing Act of 2010. The Act requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." Beginning in October 2011, newly issued documents must be written plainly. We must use plain language in any document that:
- is necessary for getting federal government benefits or services or filing taxes;
- provides information about a federal government benefit or service; or
- explains how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces.
That third bullet is the key one for the FTC. We have been working on improving our writing for many years, and have won awards for some of our documents, but there is more to do. We can use your help in complying with the Plain Writing Act. Please let us know if you have trouble understanding our documents or the pages on our website.
Take a look at our initial report detailing our progress thus far and our plan for continued compliance with the Act.
Find out more about plain writing at: