Federal Trade Commission

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Related to Federal Trade Commission: Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission Act

Federal Trade Commission

(FTC), independent agency of the U.S. government established in 1915 and charged with keeping American business competition free and fair. The FTC has no jurisdiction over banks and common carriers, which are under the supervision of other governmental agencies. It has five members, not more than three of whom may be members of the same political party, appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate, for seven-year terms. The act was part of the program of President Wilson to check the growth of monopoly and preserve competition as an effective regulator of business.

Duties of the FTC

The duties of the FTC are, in general, to promote fair competition through the enforcement of certain antitrust laws; to prevent the dissemination of false and deceptive advertising of goods, drugs, curative devices, and cosmetics; and to investigate the workings of business and keep Congress and the public informed of the efficiency of such antitrust legislation as exists, as well as of practices and situations that may call for further legislation.


The commission's law-enforcement activities have to do with the prevention of unfair methods of competition and false advertising (in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 and the Wheeler-Lea Act of 1938); with administration of provisions restricting tying and exclusive dealing contracts, acquisition of capital stock, interlocking directorates, and price discriminations (in accordance with the Clayton Antitrust ActClayton Antitrust Act,
1914, passed by the U.S. Congress as an amendment to clarify and supplement the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. It was drafted by Henry De Lamar Clayton.
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 of 1914 and the Robinson-Patman ActRobinson-Patman Act,
passed by the U.S. Congress in 1936 to supplement the Clayton Antitrust Act. The act, advanced by Congressman Wright Patman, forbade any person or firm engaged in interstate commerce to discriminate in price to different purchasers of the same commodity when
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 of 1936); and with administration of the Webb-Pomerene Act of 1918, which permits associations to engage in export trade without incurring the penalties of the Sherman Antitrust ActSherman Antitrust Act,
1890, first measure passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts; it was named for Senator John Sherman. Prior to its enactment, various states had passed similar laws, but they were limited to intrastate businesses.
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. In 1946 the FTC was given the right to cancel faulty trademarks. The FTC also enforces the provisions of the Truth in Lending Act of 1968 over creditors (e.g., finance companies, retailers, and nonfederal credit unions) not specifically regulated by another government agency. The act was designed to ensure that a potential borrower can obtain meaningful information about the actual cost of consumer credit.

To enforce antitrust legislation, the commission is empowered to issue cease-and-desist orders upon ascertaining to its satisfaction that the laws are being violated. These orders, to be effective, usually must have court sanction, and the commission must, therefore, in various instances prove its case in court. In deciding such cases the courts have interpreted and applied the phrase "unfair methods of competition." Many of the judicial decisions have frustrated the work of the commission in restricting the growth of monopoly and also, to some degree, the intent of the antitrust laws. Yet the commission has done much toward ridding the business world of vicious competitive practices.

The commission may undertake special investigations at the order of Congress, the President, or upon its own initiative. In its investigatory work, the commission was delegated the power to require information from any corporation in interstate commerce. Many companies, however, gave only partial access to their records, and others gave none. A decision by the Supreme Court declared that access to records of private business, except where substantial proof is submitted as to a specific breach of the law, is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Despite the fact that the commission's investigatory power was thus greatly limited, it has made and published a notable series of investigations. After the checks rendered by the courts, the commission tended more and more to carry out its recommendations through trade-practice conferences, at which representatives of an industry might voluntarily adopt regulations to control competition in that industry.

References in periodicals archive ?
FACTA requires the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve to study the use of credit scores in consultation with the Fair Housing Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and report the results of their study to Congress.
The Finnish elevators and escalators maker KONE Corporation said today (13 August) that the US Federal Trade Commission had approved its planned acquisition of the engineering group Partek Corporation.
After holding a public workshop last year with manufacturers, retailers, anti-trust activists and academics, the Washington, DC-headquartered Federal Trade Commission decided to gather data on current industry practices and continue to pursue anticompetitive conduct on a case-by-case basis, rather than to go ahead and impose a blanket policy.
Here are the telltale lines that the Federal Trade Commission indicates can tip you off to potential schemes:
District Court in Seattle by the Federal Trade Commission.
Pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NASDAQ:TEVA) said on Friday that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accepted the proposed consent order for the pending acquisition of Cephalon Inc (NASDAQ:CEPH).
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and related Federal Trade Commission regulations generally prohibit practitioners from disclosing clients' personal financial information.
Identity theft topped the list of consumer fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in 2003, accounting for more than haft the complaints tracked by the agency.
A couple of years later, Congress passed the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Federal Trade Commission was charged with its implementation.
The members of the Interagency Task Force are the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Board, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
This summer, the Federal Trade Commission approved the merger of two major grocery store chains in the Richmond area, and mandated the parties divest some of their local concerns.
The muzzling of a chiropractor shows the First Amendment is no match for the Federal Trade Commission.

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