Bureau of Consumer Protection
May 24, 2001
Mr. Jason Catlett
P.O. Box 7034
Green Brook, NJ 08812
Mr. Marc Rotenberg
Electronic Privacy Information Center
1718 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Re: Petition Requesting Investigation of and Enforcement Action Against Amazon.com
Dear Mr. Catlett and Mr. Rotenberg:
On December 4, 2000, Junkbusters Corp. and the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a joint petition requesting that the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") investigate whether Amazon.com ("Amazon") deceived consumers in its representations about privacy and the circumstances under which Amazon might disclose information about its customers.
We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention. Petitions from groups such as yours are a helpful means of reviewing possible unfair or deceptive practices, and we hope you will continue to bring to our attention any practices that you believe may violate the FTC Act.
1. Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits unfair or deceptive practices that are in or affecting commerce. A representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead reasonable consumers in a material fashion. See FTC Policy Statement on Deception, appended to Cliffdale Associates, Inc., 103 F.T.C. 110, 174 (1984). A practice is unfair under Section 5 if it causes, or is likely to cause, substantial injury to consumers which is not reasonably avoidable and is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or competition. 15 U.S.C. § 45(n).
2. This letter represents the views of the staff and does not necessarily represent the views of the Commission or any individual Commissioner.