FTC to Hold Workshop on Consumer Participation in Class Action Cases

Event to address current practices and research related to class action notices, redress methods, claims rates, and check-cashing rates

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On October 29, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission will hold a public workshop in Washington, DC on improving class action settlement notices for consumers.

The event will address current practices and research related to class action notices, redress methods, claims rates, check-cashing rates, and similar issues. The workshop will include several panels of experts representing a wide range of perspectives, including consumer groups, defense and plaintiff attorneys, class action administrators, and government agencies.

For more than a decade, the Commission’s Class Action Fairness Project has followed developments in class action cases to ensure that class action settlements in consumer protection and competition matters provide appropriate benefits to consumers. As part of its efforts, the FTC has monitored class actions; filed amicus briefs in appropriate cases; coordinated with state, federal, and private groups to gather information and opine on matters that merit FTC attention; and followed the progress of legislation and class action rule changes.

To further the FTC’s understanding of these issues and develop information to help improve settlement outcomes for consumers, FTC staff recently completed a staff report summarizing the findings of two studies involving consumer class actions: the Administrator Study and the Notice Study. In the first study, FTC staff obtained a sample of more than 140 consumer class action cases from large class action administrators. Based on the data collected, the FTC analyzed several characteristics of these settlements, such as notice methods and redress (i.e., compensation) amounts available, and how these characteristics relate to outcomes, including claim-filing and check-cashing rates. In the second study, the staff conducted an Internet-based consumer research study to explore consumer perceptions of class action notices, including whether consumers understand the options provided in such notices. The Commission voted 5-0 to publish the staff report.

The October 29th workshop will support the FTC’s continued examination of these and related issues. The FTC welcomes written comments, including further evidence of consumer perception. Interested parties may submit public comments electronically at Regulations.gov, or in paper form on these topics or other related topics through November 22, 2019. Paper comments may be mailed to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or they may be delivered to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024. Please write “Class Action Notices, Project No. P024210” on your comment so that it will be readily identified with this workshop.

The workshop is free and open to the public.Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.Please bring a valid government-issued photo ID such as a government badge, license, or passport. The security processing will include a metal detector and X-ray screening of all hand carried items. The workshop takes place at Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC, and will be webcast live. Registration information, directions to the event, and information about reasonable accommodations are available on the workshop website. A detailed agenda and list of speakers will be available in the near future.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3707

STAFF CONTACT:
Robin Moore
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2167