Our job at the Bureau of Consumer Protection is to protect consumers by enforcing the FTC Act’s prohibition on deceptive and unfair practices. It’s important that we carry out that mission effectively and efficiently.
In April, Acting Chairman Ohlhausen announced new internal Working Groups on Agency Reform and Efficiency. As part of that initiative, she directed the Bureau of Consumer Protection to identify best practices to streamline information requests and improve transparency in investigations. Here are the process reforms announced today, which relate to Civil Investigative Demand (CIDs) in consumer protection cases:
- Providing plain language descriptions of the CID process and developing materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
- Adding more detail about the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the FTC seeks;
- Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies;
- Where appropriate, shortening and simplifying the instructions for providing electronically stored data; and
- Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets and 14 days to 21 days for third parties).
To keep companies in the loop about the status of investigations, BCP will continue its current policy of communicating with targets at least every six months after they comply with the CID.