Statement: FTC’s ability to punish wrongdoers, compensate consumers, stymied by Supreme Court

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Congress needs to act to protect U.S. consumers from predatory businesses


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) longstanding power to ask a court for a permanent injunction to stop illegal behavior does not also authorize the agency to seek equitable monetary relief, such as restitution or disgorgement. Over several decades, the FTC has been able to recoup billions of dollars from con artists and predatory businesses. This ruling means the FTC can’t continue to help consumers get their money back.

In response, U.S. PIRG’s Senior Director for Federal Consumer Programs Ed Mierzwinski released the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision was widely expected but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing — or dangerous — for U.S. consumers. In response, Congress must act with urgency to protect Americans by restoring the FTC’s power to get money back from unscrupulous companies and people such as convicted payday lender Scott Tucker, who challenged the FTC’s authority in this case. Disappointingly, this ruling both harms the victims of his illegal schemes and leaves the door open for other bad actors to follow his lead without fear of serious financial repercussions.”