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Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeks to protect consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education.

The FTC is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies. FTC’s work is performed by the Bureaus of Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics. That work is aided by the Office of General Counsel and seven regional offices.

In Texas, as in all states, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plays a crucial role in protecting consumers and maintaining competition. The FTC enforces federal consumer protection and antitrust laws, preventing deceptive, unfair, and anticompetitive business practices. While the FTC operates at the federal level, its actions impact Texas consumers and businesses. The agency conducts law enforcement, provides guidance to legislatures, collaborates with international and domestic government entities, and offers educational resources. The FTC's efforts in Texas are supported by its Bureaus of Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics, as well as the Office of General Counsel and regional offices. Texas businesses and consumers benefit from the FTC's commitment to preserving market integrity and preventing business practices that could harm the competitive landscape or deceive consumers.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58)
This is the foundational statute that established the Federal Trade Commission and outlines its powers and responsibilities.

The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 established the FTC as an independent government agency tasked with maintaining fair competition and protecting consumers. The Act prohibits unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce. It grants the FTC the authority to seek legal remedies, including injunctions and the power to enforce penalties for violations. The Act also allows the FTC to conduct investigations, issue reports, and make legislative recommendations to Congress. The FTC is empowered to prevent businesses from using unfair practices and to promote consumer education and advocacy.

Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 12-27)
The Clayton Act complements the Federal Trade Commission Act by addressing specific practices that could lead to anticompetitive behavior.

The Clayton Act, passed in 1914, aims to promote fair competition and prevent antitrust violations. It addresses issues such as price discrimination, exclusive dealing contracts, tying arrangements, and mergers and acquisitions that may substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly. The Act also regulates interlocking directorates and prohibits certain discriminatory practices that could harm competition. The FTC enforces various provisions of the Clayton Act, particularly those related to preventing and remedying anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions.

Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f)
This Act is relevant to the FTC's role in protecting consumers from deceptive practices in credit transactions.

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requires lenders to provide consumers with clear and standardized disclosures about the terms and costs of credit, including interest rates, fees, and other charges. The Act aims to promote informed use of credit by consumers and to protect them from inaccurate and unfair credit billing and credit card practices. The FTC enforces TILA's provisions against non-bank financial institutions and works to ensure that consumers receive the information they need to make knowledgeable decisions about credit.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681x)
This Act is relevant to the FTC's consumer protection mandate, particularly in the context of credit reporting and consumer privacy.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information. It is designed to ensure the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of credit reporting agencies. The FCRA provides consumers with the right to access their credit information, dispute inaccuracies, and be informed when their credit report is used against them in decisions such as employment, insurance, or lending. The FTC enforces the FCRA and provides guidance to consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities under the Act.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6506)
This Act is relevant to the FTC's role in protecting the privacy and safety of children online.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under 13. The Act requires these operators to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children. The FTC enforces COPPA and provides guidance to businesses about how to comply with the Act's requirements.

Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6108)
This Act is relevant to the FTC's efforts to combat deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices.

The Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act authorizes the FTC to establish rules prohibiting deceptive telemarketing practices and other abusive telemarketing acts or practices. It led to the creation of the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows consumers to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. The Act also requires telemarketers to make certain disclosures and prohibits specific misrepresentations. The FTC enforces these rules and works to protect consumers from fraudulent telemarketing schemes.

How Do Anti-Monopoly Laws Work?
The aim of anti-monopoly laws is to give businesses an incentive to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up by guaranteeing a competitive market.