Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) does not authorize the FTC to bypass its administrative proceedings to seek equitable monetary relief from federal district courts in consumer protection and antitrust cases. This ruling leaves the FTC without an important tool to combat fraud against consumers. We urge Congress to amend the FTC Act to empower the agency in exceptional cases involving fraud to enforce its statutory authority in the federal district courts and seek equitable monetary relief like redress, restitution, and disgorgement.
SIIA’s Associate General Counsel and Senior Director for Technology Policy Sara DePaul notes: “While we agree that the FTC should leverage its administrative proceedings for antitrust, advertising, and privacy cases before seeking equitable monetary relief, we are deeply concerned that today’s ruling has left the agency without sufficient powers to protect consumers and small businesses from pernicious frauds. The FTC needs to be able to act quickly when addressing fraudulent marketing conduct and to have the ability to stop and repair the harm caused by fraudulent actors in the marketplace. We urge Congress to act quickly to grant the FTC with this authority for actions brought under its fraud program so that the FTC can continue to be the top cop on the beat for protecting American consumers.”
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