Finserv Glossary

FTC

What is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The Federal Trade Commission  is the only federal agency that deals with consumer protection and competition issues in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC's mission is to protect consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.

The FTC’s work to protect consumers and promote competition touches the economic life of every American, and reports its daily responsibilities as follows:

  • Pursue strong and effective law enforcement against deceptive, unfair and anticompetitive business practices;
  • Create and share practical, plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses
  • Advance consumers’ interests by sharing our expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies;
  • Develop policy and research tools through workshops, conferences, and hearings.

The organizational structure of the FTC provides for Bureaus which focus on specific areas, as follows:

The Bureau of Competition seeks to prevent anticompetitive mergers and other anticompetitive business practices in the marketplace. By enforcing the antitrust laws, the Bureau promotes competition and protects consumers' freedom to choose goods and services in an open marketplace at a price and quality that fit their needs.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection's mandate is to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices. The Bureau enforces a variety of consumer protection laws enacted by Congress, as well as trade regulation rules issued by the Commission. Its actions include individual company and industry-wide investigations, administrative and federal court litigation, rulemaking proceedings, and consumer and business education. In addition, the Bureau contributes to the Commission's on-going efforts to inform Congress and other government entities of the impact that proposed actions could have on consumers.

The Bureau of Economics helps the FTC evaluate the economic impact of its actions. To do so, the Bureau provides economic analysis and support to antitrust and consumer protection investigations and rulemakings. It also analyzes the impact of government regulation on competition and consumers and provides Congress, the Executive Branch and the public with economic analysis of market processes as they relate to antitrust, consumer protection, and regulation.

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