In current testimony earlier than the Home Appropriations Subcommittee on Monetary Companies and Common Authorities, the Federal Commerce Fee described its work to guard shoppers and promote competitors.
Testifying on behalf of the Fee, FTC legal professional and Chairman Joseph Simons, together with Commissioner Rohit Chopra outlined the FTC’s work in areas that embody, with out limitation, privateness, knowledge safety, and shopper fraud.
Based on the Fee, by means of the third quarter of FY 2019, FTC actions resulted in over $789 million being returned to shoppers. The company stories that it returned greater than $459 million in redress to shoppers, and that FTC defendants paid greater than $317 million by means of self-administered shopper refund applications required by prior FTC settlements.
FTC attorneys have aggressively pursued privateness and knowledge safety circumstances in myriad areas, together with youngsters’s privateness, monetary privateness, well being privateness and the Web of Issues. The FTC’s current settlement with Fb resolved a six-count criticism that the corporate violated a 2012 FTC administrative order by deceiving customers about their potential to regulate the privateness of their private data. Along with the $5 billion penalty, the settlement positioned restrictions and obligations on Fb’s enterprise operations as they relate to privateness.
The testimony additionally lined the FTC’s fraud program to cease unlawful robocalls, sham charities, or deceptively pose as the federal government or well-known tech firms, and the company’s efforts to problem false and unsubstantiated well being claims.
FTC Seeks Public Touch upon Methods to Enhance Unfavourable Choice Advertising Necessities
The FTC not too long ago introduced that it’s looking for public touch upon methods to enhance its present laws for destructive possibility advertising.
Unfavourable possibility advertising is a type of advertising whereby the absence of affirmative shopper motion constitutes consent to be charged for items or companies. Such advertising is broadly used and is a favourite of the FTC on the subject of FTC enforcement actions and CIDs. Triggers embody, with out limitation, failing to make ample disclosures, billing shoppers with out their consent, or making cancellation troublesome or not possible.
Over time, the Fee has sought to deal with these issues by means of particular person legislation enforcement circumstances and varied regulatory necessities, together with the FTC’s present Unfavourable Choice Rule, which addresses solely pre-notification plans and doesn’t attain different frequent types of fashionable destructive possibility advertising (e.g., automated renewals).
The FTC additionally depends on different statutes (e.g., the Restore On-line Consumers’ Confidence Act) and laws (e.g., the Telemarketing Gross sales Rule) to deal with dangerous destructive possibility practices. Nevertheless, these varied necessities don’t present trade and shoppers with a constant authorized framework throughout totally different media and forms of plans. Furthermore, present laws might lack the specificity crucial to discourage misleading practices.
As detailed in an Advance Discover of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), the FTC is looking for public touch upon methods to enhance present regulatory necessities, together with whether or not the company ought to use its rulemaking authority below the FTC Act to increase the scope and protection of the prevailing Unfavourable Choice Rule. The Fee seeks any options or different strategies for bettering present necessities, in an effort to extra successfully defend shoppers from destructive possibility violations.
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