AGs Unite To Ask The FTC Be Provided With Much-Needed Tools

New York Attorney General Letitia James co-led a bipartisan coalition of 28 attorneys general from around the nation in taking action to support the ability of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to successfully combat fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Attorneys General James and the coalition express their strong support for the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act (H.R. 2668), which would ensure the ability of the FTC to obtain equitable monetary relief, including restitution for consumers and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, after a US Supreme Court decision stripped the agency of its ability earlier this year. 

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers are more financially vulnerable than ever before and rely on federal and state enforcers to protect their interests and return their hard-earned money when they have been defrauded,” wrote Attorney General James. “If the FTC does not have the ability to obtain monetary relief and redress harms, consumers will be the ones who lose out. Our federal partners at the FTC are vital in the fight to protect consumers, which is why I urge Congress to support consumers and honest businesses by restoring these essential enforcement tools.”

The FTC is an important partner to states as they police anticompetitive, unfair, and deceptive trade practices. The lack of authority to seek equitable monetary relief — directly in court proceedings — undermines the FTC’s efforts to combat unfair and deceptive practices. As the coalition makes clear, in their letter on Monday, June 28, this, in turn, frustrates federal-state collaboration and forces states to divert resources away from other consumer protection efforts and perform duties that were previously fulfilled by the FTC. 

Unfair and deceptive trade practices are a serious problem in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an uptick in consumer complaints. Likewise, unfair competitive practices have dire and adverse impacts on consumers and businesses. Monopolization, collusion, and other unlawful conduct threaten the proper functioning of the American marketplace and cost consumers and honest businesses billions of dollars each year. 

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