What is the 'Federal Trade Commission - FTC'

The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency that aims to protect consumers and ensure a strong competitive market by enforcing consumer protection and antitrust laws.

BREAKING DOWN 'Federal Trade Commission - FTC'

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established in 1914 as part of the Wilson administration's trust-busting efforts. It was tasked with enforcing the Clayton Act, which banned monopolistic practices. The FTC continues to discourage anticompetitive behavior through the Bureau of Competition, which reviews proposed mergers together with the Department of Justice. 

The FTC also deals with complaints of unfair business practices such as scams and deceptive advertising. The Bureau of Consumer Protection conducts investigations into alleged abuses, carries out enforcement actions and provide educational materials to consumers. The Bureau of Consumer Protection is in charge of the U.S. National Do Not Call Registry.

The Bureau of Economics provides research support to the other two departments of the FTC, including analysis of FTC actions' potential effects.

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.

Examples of FTC Actions

In the 1980s the FTC cracked down on deceptive pricing in the funeral home industry, requiring funeral homes to offer a written list of all prices to anyone who requests one. In the 1990s the agency conducted a number of investigations into telemarketing scams offering fictitious business opportunities. The FTC has been active in the healthcare industry, blocking the proposed acquisition of Palmyra Medical Center by Putney Memorial Hospital based on potential harm to consumers. The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in the FTC's favor in 2013.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Clayton Antitrust Act

    The Clayton Antitrust Act is a U.S. amendment designed to promote ...
  2. Antitrust

    The antitrust laws apply to virtually all industries and to every ...
  3. Department Of Labor (DOL)

    The Department of Labor is a cabinet-level U.S. agency responsible ...
  4. Employee Benefits Security Administration ...

    A division of the Department of Labor (DOL) charged with enforcing ...
  5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ...

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a regulatory agency ...
  6. Robinson-Patman Act

    The Robinson-Patman Act is a federal law passed in 1936 to outlaw ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    A Short History of the US Federal Trade Commission

    Since the early 1900s, the Federal Trade Commission has preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices.
  2. Personal Finance

    Get To Know Your Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    The CFPB is there to protect you and hear your voice. You can help with the economic recovery by getting to know the bureau.
  3. Small Business

    What are antitrust laws?

    Learn about antitrust laws or "competition laws." These statutes protect consumers from predatory business practices by ensuring fair competition exists.
  4. Insights

    Asset Recovery Companies: Don’t Be Scammed

    Victims of money scams have even more to worry about than their lost assets: the real risk of getting scammed again, by a so-called asset recovery firm.
  5. Small Business

    How Monopoly Antitrust Laws Affect Consumers

    Monopolies often receive a negative reception, but sometimes they can benefit consumers.
  6. Insights

    CFPB Targets Discriminatory Lending Practices

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is sending mystery shoppers into banks to uncover discriminatory lending practices.
  7. Personal Finance

    Policing The Securities Market: An Overview Of The SEC

    Find out how this regulatory body protects the rights of investors.
  8. Insights

    Elder Financial Abuse: How to Protect Yourself

    There are behaviors and laws that will help you avoid becoming a victim of financial abuse.
  9. Personal Finance

    Spotting Credit-Repair Scams

    Credit repair scams are common in today's debt-reliant world. Don't be a victim!
  10. Investing

    Homeowners, Beware These Scams!

    If you're in a pinch for money, you're the prime target for con artists and thieves.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are some of the major regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing financial ...

    Discover the specific responsibilities of some of the major regulatory agencies that oversee financial institutions in the ... Read Answer >>
  2. What's the difference between credit reports and investigative consumer reports?

    Learn about the major differences between two types of risk-evaluation reports: consumer credit reports and investigative ... Read Answer >>
  3. What data does the Bureau of Labor Statistics collect?

    Collected data includes unemployment numbers, inflation, prices, pay and benefits, time use of Americans, import/export numbers ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does the Bureau of Labor Statistics determine the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

    Changes in the average price level of more than 200 goods and services across the U.S. economy are used to determine the ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between a monopolistic market and perfect competition?

    Learn about monopolistic and perfectly competitive markets, what they are, and the main differences between perfect competition ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Price-Earnings Ratio - P/E Ratio

    The Price-to-Earnings Ratio or P/E ratio is a ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative ...
  2. Internal Rate of Return - IRR

    Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is a metric used in capital budgeting to estimate the profitability of potential investments.
  3. Limit Order

    An order placed with a brokerage to buy or sell a set number of shares at a specified price or better.
  4. Current Ratio

    The current ratio is a liquidity ratio that measures a company's ability to pay short-term and long-term obligations.
  5. Return on Investment (ROI)

    Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency ...
  6. Interest Coverage Ratio

    The interest coverage ratio is a debt ratio and profitability ratio used to determine how easily a company can pay interest ...
Trading Center