Find the right lawyer now

Federal Trade Commission Laws

Find a Local Government Lawyer near You

What Is the Federal Trade Commission?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a regulatory body that is important to both consumers and businesses. It was established to help ensure a competitive marketplace. It enforces a wide variety of consumer protection laws and trade regulations, including:

The FTC's main goal is to ensure that the markets are vigorous, efficient, and free of restrictions. Thus, the FTC tries to enforce consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices.

What Does the Bureau of Consumer Protection Do?

The purpose of the Bureau of Consumer Protection is to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices. It enforces consumer protection laws enacted by Congress and trade regulation rules issued by the FTC. Its actions include:

  • Individual company and industry-wide investigations
  • Administrative and federal court litigation
  • Rule making proceedings
  • Consumer and business education
  • Informing Congress and other government entities of the impact that proposed actions could have on consumers

What Are the Responsibilities of the Bureau's Divisions?

The Bureau is divided into six divisions and programs. These include:

  • Division of Advertising Practices - Enforces federal truth-in-advertising laws
  • Division of Enforcement - Conducts law enforcement activities to protect consumers
  • Division of Financial Practices - Develops policy and enforces laws related to financial and lending practices affecting consumers
  • Division of Marketing Practices - Enforces consumer protection laws by filing actions on behalf of the FTC to stop scams, prevent scam artists from repeating their fraudulent schemes, freeze assets, and obtain compensation for victims
  • Division of Planning and Information - Helps consumers get the information they need to protect themselves, and gives FTC attorneys and other consumer protection law enforcers the information they need to take action
  • International Division of Consumer Protection - Promotes consumer confidence in the international marketplace

How Does the FTC Bring an Action?

The FTC may decide to take action when it receives letters from consumers or businesses, pre-merger notification filings, Congressional inquiries or articles on consumer or economic subjects. The FTC's investigations are usually non-public. This protects the investigation and the companies involved.

If the FTC believes a company has violated the law, it may try to get voluntary compliance by entering into a consent order with the company. This basically means that the company agrees to stop its practices. If the FTC cannot get such an agreement, it may issue an administrative complaint or seek injunctive relief from the courts.

If a violation is found, the company may be ordered to cease and desist. The FTC can also issue Trade Regulation Rules. During the rulemaking proceedings, the public can attend hearings and file written comments on a proposed rule.

Do I Need a Lawyer Familiar with the FTC?

The FTC, in response to complaints by consumers and others, will bring actions against a company by itself. A business lawyer may help you understand the law and avoid any complications with the FTC.

Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 04-19-2018 07:22 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.