PIRG-backed coalition letter in support of S. 4145, the Consumer Protection Remedies Act of 2022 (Cantwell-WA). This bill would restore the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to stop misconduct in the marketplace, and critically, to provide timely refunds and equitable relief to victims of consumer fraud and deception. A recent Supreme Court decision had held that the FTC’s powers did not extend to providing refunds derived from disgorging profits from wrongdoers.
Excerpt from letter downloadable from this page:
“For more than 40 years, the FTC relied on §13(b) of the FTC Act to hold fraudsters and wrongdoers accountable for violating the law—both by stopping wrongdoers from profiting from their fraudulent acts, and by ensuring that bad actors repay the consumers and small businesses they harm. However, the Supreme Court’s 2021 holding in AMG Capital Management, LLC, et al. v. Federal Trade Commission—that §13(b) does not give the FTC the authority to get such monetary relief, and that Congress would need to restore the FTC’s ability to refund harmed consumers—severely diminished the value of this crucial law enforcement tool.
Without § 13(b) authority, the FTC can no longer effectively strip the ill-gotten earnings from payday lenders that trick some of the most vulnerable consumers with hidden fees, or send adequate refunds to small business owners who had money illegally withdrawn from their accounts by lenders. And this also seriously undermines the FTC’s ability to combat practices of big tech companies that have taken advantage of their market power to crowd out small businesses and exploit consumers’ personal data.
Between October 2016 and the Supreme Court’s holding in April 2021, the FTC refunded more than $11 billion to at least 12 million wronged consumers across the country.”