The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for policing business practices across the nation and making sure competition remains fair. When the FTC was created in 1914, its purpose was to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce as part of early government efforts to break up large trusts and prevent them from dominating industries. Over the years, Congress has passed additional laws giving the FTC greater authority to police anticompetitive practices. Today, the commission administers a wide variety of other consumer protection laws. Some of the recent issues the FTC has dealt with include truthful advertising practices and price fixing. The commission also provides workshops, hearings, and conferences and creates educational programs for both consumers and businesses. Recent controversies involving the high-tech, drug, insurance, telecommunications, and social networking sectors have kept the agency busier than ever.
The FTC was created in 1914 to help prevent unfair competitive advantages in the marketplace. This came as a result of lawmakers, as well as President Woodrow Wilson, attempting to “bust the trusts,” or break apart monopolies that discouraged competition from smaller and less powerful businesses. The original legislation creating the agency was called the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The FTC is an independent agency of the federal government responsible for providing consumer protection and making sure business practices remain fair. The FTC deals with complaints that are filed regarding unfair business practices such as scams, deceptive advertising and monopolistic practices. It reviews these complaints to determine if businesses are in fact engaging in harmful practices. The FTC is also responsible for reviewing business mergers to ensure that they do not hurt competition in the market and potentially harm consumers. Generally speaking, the FTC does not have the ability to directly enforce its rulings, but it can go to the courts to have them enforced.
The FTC spent $283.2 million on 5,467 transactions during the past decade. According to USASpending.gov, the FTC paid for a variety of services, from automatic data processing equipment to management support and expert witness services in support of its goals.
FTC Goes After Google for Antitrust and More Privacy Troubles
As the only Democrat then on the board of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Jon Leibowitz was not much of a surprise pick by President Barack Obama to head up the regulatory commission. But his role as chairman is expected to move the FTC in new directions that could mean tougher times for drug manufacturers, marketers and Internet advertisers. The FTC may also grow in size if Leibowitz—a former Capitol Hill staffer and Hollywood lobbyist—can convince lawmakers to increase the commission’s budget.