Every year the FTC brings hundreds of cases against individuals and companies for violating consumer protection and competition laws that the agency enforces. These cases can involve fraud, scams, identity theft, false advertising, privacy violations, anti-competitive behavior and more. The Legal Library has detailed information about cases we have brought in federal court or through our internal administrative process, called an adjudicative proceeding.
The Commission charged a group of optometrists in Puerto Rico with violating the FTC Act by orchestrating agreements among members of the Colegio de Optometras to refuse, or threaten to refuse, to accept vision and health care contracts except on collectively agreed-upon terms. Two leaders of the group were also charged with facilitating the agreement by urging members not to participate in the vision network. The Commission’s consent order settling these charges bars the group and the two leaders from engaging in such conduct, while allowing them to undertake certain kinds of joint contracting arrangements by which physician participants control costs and improve quality by managing the provision of services. FTC staff worked with the Office of Monopolistic Affairs of Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice on this case.
The Commission settled a September 15 2003 administrative complaint charging the South Carolina State Board of Dentistry with unlawfully restraining competition by enacting a rule that required a dentist to examine every child before a dental hygienist could provide preventive dental care – such as cleanings – in schools. The Board, which is a state regulatory agency composed primarily of practicing dentists, claimed that its actions were immune from antitrust challenge under the state action doctrine, but that argument was rejected in a 2004 Commission opinion holding that the Board’s conduct was directly contrary to state law. In 2006, the court of appeals dismissed the Board’s interlocutory petition for review for lack of jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari in January 2007. The FTC’s 2007 consent requires the Board to publicly support the current state public health program that allows hygienists to provide preventive dental care to schoolchildren, especially those from low-income families.
Consent order permits the acquisition of Equity Corporation International, the fourth largest funeral home and cemetery company in the United States, and requires SCI to divest funeral service and cemetery properties in 14 markets to Carriage Services, Inc. to remedy the anticompetitive effects of the acquisition.
Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Jon Leibowitz Regarding the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division Report on Spring/Summer 2006 Nationwide Gasoline Price Increases
The Commission charged that a motor oil lubricant importer illegally conspired with its competitors to restrict the importation and sale of these products in Puerto Rico, which resulted in higher prices paid by consumers. According to the FTC’s complaint, during 2005 and 2006, American Petroleum joined with numerous others in the Puerto Rico lubricants industry to lobby for the delay, modification, or repeal of Puerto Rico Law 278, which imposes an environmental recovery fee of 50 cents per quart. With the effective date of the law approaching, the importers adopted a strategy of refusing to import lubricants as a means of forcing a change. The consent order settling the charges bars American Petroleum from conspiring with its competitors to restrict output, refuse to deal, or boycott any lubricant buyer or potential buyer.
Statement of Commissioners Pamela Jones Harbour and Jon Leibowitz Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part
Resolution Directing Use of Compulsory Process to Collect Information for Use in Preparing a Report to Congress Regarding the Marketing of Food and Beverages to Children and Adolescents
Ahold would be permitted to acquire Bruno's Supermarkets, Inc. under terms of a consent order, but would be required to divest two BI-LO supermarkets in Georgia -one Milledgeville, and one in Sandersville. The Commission's complaint charged that the acquisition as originally proposed would reduce competition in the retail sale of food and grocery items in supermarkets in the area and would eliminate direct competition between supermarkets owned and controlled by Ahold and those owned or controlled by Bruno's.