The Federal Trade Commission’s mission is to safeguard consumers and maintain business competition, and this objective is achieved through law enforcement, research, consumer education programs, and education campaigns.
Typical activities of an agency include investigations of fraud or false advertising, congressional inquiries, and pre-merger notification filings. The agency can seek voluntary compliance through consent orders or initiate federal litigation to enforce compliance when necessary.
The Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission was founded in 1914 to counter unfair and deceptive trade and commerce practices and later gained increased powers after Congress passed the Clayton Antitrust Act and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act in 1938 and 1975. Today the commission comprises five commissioners nominated by President Roosevelt and confirmed by both houses of Congress; two serve seven-year terms while another is chosen as Chairperson by President Roosevelt himself.
The agency engages in law enforcement; shares its expertise with federal, state, and international government agencies; and creates practical educational programs tailored specifically for consumers and businesses. It comprises three bureaus – Consumer Protection Bureau, Competition Bureau, and Economics Bureau.
The Office of Inspector General
The Office of Inspector General leads the General Services Administration’s nationwide audits, investigations, and inspections to uncover fraud, waste mismanagement, and abuse within its organization while improving economic efficiency and effectiveness.
The bureau also seeks monetary compensation for consumers mistreated or deceived by businesses, and Congress has granted it the power to set industry-wide trade regulation rules. Their primary mission is discouraging anticompetitive business practices while safeguarding consumer rights.
The Federal Trade Commission also helps lawmakers understand and evaluate antitrust and consumer protection actions by providing economic analysis. Furthermore, it investigates any whistleblower complaints concerning federal programs or activities.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis
The FTC protects consumers from deceptive or unfair business practices and fosters an economy with fair competition. To this end, it enforces noncriminal antitrust laws, conducts legal investigations, seeks voluntary compliance through consent orders, holds public hearings presided over by administrative law judges, and files civil suits in U.S. district courts.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis provides invaluable support for the Federal Trade Commission by conducting economic analysis and research. In addition, they publish economic statistics such as gross domestic product (GDP) reports and balance of trade figures – essential data points when making informed economic decisions by businesses, government agencies, or individuals alike.
The Bureau of Consumer Protection
The Bureau of Consumer Protection enforces federal laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce. In addition, BE offers legislative recommendations, assists consumers with identity theft issues, runs the Do Not Call Registry, and collects consumer complaints.
When an allegation of illegal business practices is brought to its attention through its investigations or from consumers, businesses, trade associations, or local governmental agencies, it may seek voluntary compliance through consent orders or initiate federal litigation proceedings against these businesses.
BE would make an ideal home for a coordinated data protection approach, including joint investigations of tech platforms relying on algorithmic decision-making processes. Unfortunately, however, such measures require legislation.
The Bureau of Competition
The Bureau of Competition enforces antitrust laws and investigates allegations of unfair or deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce. Additionally, it promotes competition through trade regulation rules while educating consumers, business competitors, and federal agencies about antitrust laws and practices.
BE’s office performs critical work on complex matters such as calculating injury and penalty in antitrust cases and studying issues like ad substantiation and patent abuse. But BE could become even more helpful to the agency by expanding its data protection mission and providing a single point of contact for FTC investigations of tech platforms – something which doesn’t happen under its current structure.
Beacon of Excellence can also contribute to employee morale by meaningfully showing how their work touches others’ lives.
The FTC Act
The Federal Trade Commission was created in 1914 as an agency charged with upholding federal antitrust and consumer protection laws, such as those passed during the Wilson administration’s trust-busting efforts to eliminate unfair competition practices and any deceptive acts or practices in commerce.
The Commission seeks monetary compensation for consumers harmed by unlawful business practices and discourages anticompetitive behavior via the Bureau of Competition, which oversees merger requests with the Department of Justice. It provides lawmakers and consumers with economic analysis of market processes in support of antitrust investigations, consumer protection efforts, and rulemaking activities; plus, it creates practical plain language educational programs designed for fast-evolving global marketplaces.