FTC Inflation-Adjusted Civil Penalty Amounts for 2022

New fines set to take effect within days

The Federal Trade Commission has adjusted the maximum civil penalty dollar amounts for violations of 16 provisions of law the agency enforces, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act (FCPIAA) Improvements Act of 2015. This Act directs agencies to inflation-adjust certain penalties annually and makes them effective once they are published in the Federal Register.

The new penalty levels are effective with their publication in the Federal Register, which typically happens within about 3 days. 

Inflation-adjusted fines include violations of the FTC Act, the Clayton Act, Export Trade Act, Fur and Wool Products Labeling Acts, and others. The maximum civil penalty amount for violations of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 has been increased from $1,246,249 to $1,323,791 for 2022. Other penalties range from a low of $503 (up from $474) for violations of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to $46,517 (up from $43,792) for violations of the FTC Act, as well as certain other violations of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Key Takeaways

  • As mandated, the Federal Trade Commission has announced inflation-adjusted civil penalty amounts for 2022.
  • Certain civil penalties imposed by the FTC are subject to annual inflation adjustment by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act (FCPIAA) Improvements Act of 2015.
  • The annual adjustment is based on the percentage difference between the U.S. Department Labor's Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for the preceding October and that of October of the previous year.
  • The annual-adjustment multiplier for 2021 to 2022 is 1.06222.
  • The new fine amounts are effective with their publication in the Federal Register.

Table of Inflation-Adjusted Civil Penalties

The table below outlines all inflation-adjusted FTC fines under the amended FCPIAA for 2022.

 Citation Violation   2021 2022 
Section 7A(g)(1) of the Clayton Act Premerger filing notification violations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements Act  $43,792  $46,517
Section 11(l) of the Clayton Act Violations of cease and desist orders issued under Clayton Act section 11(b)  $23,266  $24,714
Section 5(l) of the FTC Act Unfair or deceptive acts or practices $43,792 $46,517
Section 5(m)(1)(A) of the FTC Act Unfair or deceptive acts or practices $43,792 $46,517
Section 5(m)(1)(B) of the FTC Act Unfair or deceptive acts or practices $43,792 $46,517
Section 10 of the FTC Act Failure to file required reports $576 $612
Section 5 of the Webb-Pomerene (Export Trade) Act Failure by associations engaged solely in export trade to file required statements $576 $612
Section 6(b) of the Wool Products Labeling Act Failure by wool manufacturers to maintain required records $576 $612
Section 3(e) of the Fur Products Labeling Act Failure to maintain required records regarding fur products $576 $612
Section 8(d)(2) of the Fur Products Labeling Act Failure to maintain required records regarding fur products $576 $612
Section 333(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act Knowing violations of EPCA § 332, including labeling violations $474 $503
Section 525(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act Recycled oil labeling violations $23,266 $24,714
Section 525(b) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act Willful violations of recycled oil labeling requirements $43,792 $46,517
Section 621(a)(2) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act Knowing violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act $4,111 $4,367
Section 1115(a) of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 Failure to comply with filing requirements $15,482 $16,445
Section 814(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 Violations of prohibitions on market manipulation and provision of false information to federal agencies $1,246,249 $1,323,791

Source: Federal Trade Commission

How Increases Are Calculated

The FCPIAA, as amended, directs federal agencies to adjust all civil monetary penalties under their jurisdiction for inflation in January of each year. The adjustment is based on the percentage of change between the U.S. Department Labor's Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U) for the preceding month of October compared to October of the previous year.

Based on that formula the COLA multiplier for 2021 to 2022 is 1.06222. The FCPIAA also requires that all adjustments must be rounded to the nearest dollar amount. Agencies have no discretion to otherwise adjust civil penalties or to adjust the method used to determine the annual adjustment.

1.06222

The multiplier used to increase FTC civil penalty fines for 2022, based on changes in the CPI-U.

Effective Date and Enforcement

The new penalty levels are effective with their publication in the Federal Register which typically happens within about 3 days of the time it is received at the agency. These new penalty levels apply to civil penalties assessed after the effective date even if the violation occurred before the effective date.

If a fine from a previous violation is in the process of collection, however, the amount of the fine does not go up after the effective date. Also, since the FCPIAA directs the FTC to adjust civil monetary penalties and to publish those adjustments in the Federal Register, prior public notice and comment and a delayed effective date are not required.

Article Sources

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  1. Federal Register. "Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015." Accessed Jan. 7, 2022.

  2. Federal Trade Commission. "Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustments for 2022." Accessed Jan. 7, 2022.

  3. Federal Register. "When is this document going to publish?" Accessed Jan. 7, 2022.