Legal Resources – Statutes Relating to Consumer Protection Mission
Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f, as amended)
This Act (Title I of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) vests the Commission with responsibility for assuring compliance by most non-depository entities with a variety of statutory provisions. Specifically, the Act requires all creditors who deal with consumers to make certain written disclosures concerning all finance charges and related aspects of credit transactions (including disclosing an annual percentage rate). The Act also establishes a three-day right of rescission in certain transactions involving the establishment of a security interest in the consumer’s residence (with certain exclusions, such as interests taken in connection with the purchase or initial construction of a dwelling). The Act also establishes certain requirements for advertisers of credit terms. A number of later laws (see below) made substantial amendments to this Act.
Fair Credit Billing Act (15 U.S.C. 1666-1666j)
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, requires prompt written acknowledgment of consumer billing complaints and investigation of billing errors by creditors. The amendment prohibits creditors from taking actions that adversely affect the consumer’s credit standing until an investigation is completed, and affords other protection during disputes. The amendment also requires that creditors promptly post payments to the consumer’s account, and either refund overpayments or credit them to the consumer’s account.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681u, as amended)
The Act protects information collected by consumer reporting agencies such as credit bureaus, medical information companies and tenant screening services. Information in a consumer report cannot be provided to anyone who does not have a purpose specified in the Act. Companies that provide information to consumer reporting agencies also have specific legal obligations, including the duty to investigate disputed information. Also, users of the information for credit, insurance, or employment purposes must notify the consumer when an adverse action is taken on the basis of such reports. Further, users must identify the company that provided the report, so that the accuracy and completeness of the report may be verified or contested by the consumer. The Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-319, 124 Stat. 3457) clarifies and narrows the meaning of “creditor” for purposes of the Red Flags provisions.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, the Credit CARD Act and Dodd-Frank Act (see below), made a number of substantial changes to this Act.
Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act (codified in scattered sections of the U.S. Code, particularly 15 U.S.C. 1637(c)-(g))
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, requires credit and charge card issuers to provide certain disclosures in direct mail, telephone and other applications and solicitations to open-end credit and charge accounts and under other circumstances.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1691-1691f, as amended)
This Act (Title VII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, receipt of public assistance, or good faith exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The Act also requires creditors to provide applicants, upon request, with the reasons underlying decisions to deny credit.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692o, as amended)
Under this Act (Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act), third-party debt collectors are prohibited from employing deceptive or abusive conduct in the collection of consumer debts incurred for personal, family, or household purposes. Such collectors may not, for example, contact debtors at odd hours, subject them to repeated telephone calls, threaten legal action that is not actually contemplated, or reveal to other persons the existence of debts.
Electronic Fund Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1693-1693r, as amended)
This statute (Title IX of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of participants in electronic fund transfer systems. The Act requires financial institutions to adopt certain practices respecting such matters as transaction accounting, preauthorized transfers, and error resolution, and sets liability limits for losses caused by unauthorized transfers. The Credit CARD Act and the Dodd-Frank Act (see below) made substantial amendments to this Act.
Consumer Leasing Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1667-1667f, as amended)
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, regulates personal property leases that exceed 4 months in duration and that are made to consumers for personal, family, or household purposes. The statute requires that certain lease costs and terms be disclosed, imposes limitations on the size of penalties for delinquency or default and on the size of residual liabilities, and requires certain disclosures in lease advertising.
Magnuson Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2312)
Title I of this Act authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to develop regulations for written and implied warranties. The Act directs the Commission to establish disclosure and designation standards for written warranties, specifies standards for full warranties, and establishes consumer remedies for breach of warranty or service contract obligations.
Hobby Protection Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 2101-2106)
This Act outlaws manufacturing or importing imitation numismatic and collectible political items unless they are marked in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission.
Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2801-2841)
Subchapter II of this Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2821-2824) authorizes the Commission to prescribe requirements for the calculation and posting of gasoline octane ratings by gasoline distributors and retailers.
Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 (39 U.S.C. § 3009(a))
Section 3009(a) of this Act authorizes the Commission to prosecute as an unfair or deceptive practice in violation of the FTC Act any use of the mails to send unordered merchandise.
Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986 (15 U.S.C. §§ 4401-4408)
This Act, as amended by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (see below), requires manufacturers, packagers, and importers of smokeless tobacco products to place one of four statutorily-prescribed health-related warning labels on product packages and in advertisements, on a rotational basis, as approved by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the Act prohibits any advertising of smokeless tobacco products on radio and television. The Commission is authorized to enforce against violations of the Act.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991(Pub. L. No. 102-242, codified in relevant part at 12 U.S.C. § 1831t, as amended)
Section 151 of this Act (adding section 43 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act), as amended by the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-352, 120 Stat. 2011) requires non-federally insured depository institutions to disclose in certain locations, documents, and advertising that the institution is not federally insured. The section requires the FTC to issue a rule prescribing the manner and content of those disclosures and enforcement of the rule. The section also requires private deposit insurers to obtain annual audits and provide copies to the depository institutions they insure (who must provide them to customers on request) and to the appropriate state supervisory agencies. The section provides appropriate state supervisors with express authority to examine and enforce compliance with the section. Appropriations acts have prohibited implementation of a provision that authorizes the Commission to extend the law to certain additional entities. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, responsibilities for that provision and other rulemaking will transfer to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (104 Stat. 4465, codified in relevant part at 16 U.S.C. § 1385, as amended)
The Act makes it unlawful under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act for any producer, importer, exporter, distributor, or seller of any tuna product that is exported from or offered for sale in the United States to deceptively claim that its tuna is “dolphin safe.” The standard for labeling tuna as “dolphin safe” has been loosened by Section 5 of the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (Pub. L. No. 105-42, 111 Stat. 1122).
Energy Policy Act of 1992 (106 Stat. 2776, codified in scattered sections of the U.S. Code, particularly 42 U.S.C. §§ 6201 et seq.)
This Act amends the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (see Statutes – Both Missions) to require that the Commission issue: (1) disclosure rules to assist consumers in choosing the most efficient incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs; (2) efficiency labeling rules for certain plumbing fixtures; (3) amendments to the Commission’s Octane Certification and Posting Rule establishing automotive fuel posting and certification requirements for all liquid automotive fuels, including alternative fuels; and (4) labeling requirements concerning the costs and benefits of non-petroleum alternative fuels and alternative-fueled vehicles. The Act also requires the Commission to enforce energy efficiency labeling rules issued by the Department of Energy for high intensity discharge lamps, distribution transformers, and small electric motors, and gives the Commission contingent authority to issue efficiency labeling rules for windows, commercial office equipment, and luminaries if the Department of Energy finds that it is appropriate to develop energy efficiency testing procedures for such products. The Commission’s rules can be found at 16 C.F.R. Parts 305, 306, and 309.
Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992 (codified in relevant part at 15 U.S.C. §§ 5701 et seq.)
The Act requires the Commission to promulgate certain regulations respecting advertising for, operation of, and billing and collection procedures for, pay-per-call or “900 number” telephone services. The regulations must include certain provisions, such as price disclosure requirements, mandatory warnings on services directed to children, and required disclosures in billing statements. The Act also directs the Commission to promulgate a regulation extending to pay-per-call services the billing dispute provisions of the Fair Credit Billing Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1666 et seq. The Commission’s rules can be found at 16 C.F.R. Part 308.
Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act (codified in relevant part at 15 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6108)
The Act requires the Commission to promulgate regulations (1) defining and prohibiting deceptive telemarketing acts or practices; (2) prohibiting telemarketers from engaging in a pattern of unsolicited telephone calls that a reasonable consumer would consider coercive or an invasion of privacy; (3) restricting the hours of the day and night when unsolicited telephone calls may be made to consumers; and (4) requiring disclosure of the nature of the call at the start of an unsolicited call made to sell goods or services. The law expressly authorizes the Commission to include within the rules’ coverage entities that “assist or facilitate” deceptive telemarketing practices. The Commission’s rules can be found at 16 C.F.R. Part 310.
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Pub. L. No. 103-322)
Under Section 320933 of the Act (108 Stat. 2135, 15 U.S.C. § 45a), labels representing that a product is “Made in America” or “Made in the U.S.A.” must conform with the domestic content requirements for such claims established by the Commission’s decisions and orders. The current standard for making such claims is that the product’s content of parts and labor must be “all or virtually all” domestic.
Telecommunication Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-104)
Section 701(b)(1) of the Act, amending section 204(1) of the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992 (TDDRA), 15 U.S.C. § 5714(1), authorizes the Commission to expand upon the definition of “pay-per-call service (currently 900 number services)” to “other similar services providing audio information or audio entertainment if the Commission determines such services are susceptible to the unfair and deceptive practices” prohibited by the Commission’s TDDRA rules.
Home Equity Loan Consumer Protection Act (codified in scattered sections of the U.S. Code, particularly 15 U.S.C. §§ 1637 and 1647)
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, requires creditors to provide certain disclosures for open-end credit plans secured by the consumer’s dwelling and imposes substantive limitations on such plans.
Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1639, as amended)
The Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, establishes disclosure requirements and prohibits equity stripping and other abusive practices in connection with high-cost mortgages. The Dodd-Frank Act (see below) made substantial amendments to this Act.
Credit Repair Organizations Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1679-1679j)
This Act, Pub. L. No. 104-208, § 2451, 110 Stat. 3009-455 (Sept. 30, 1996), amending title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, prohibits untrue or misleading representations and requires certain affirmative disclosures in the offering or sale of “credit repair” services. The Act bars “credit repair” companies from demanding advance payment, requires that “credit repair” contracts be in writing, and gives consumers certain contract cancellation rights.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6506)
This Act protects children’s privacy by giving parents the tools to control what information is collected from their children online. Under the Act’s implementing Rule (codified at 16 C.F.R. Part 312), operators of commercial websites and online services directed to or knowingly collecting personal information from children under 13 must: (1) notify parents of their information practices; (2) obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting a child’s personal information; (3) give parents a choice as to whether their child’s information will be disclosed to third parties; (4) provide parents access to their child’s information; (5) let parents prevent further use of collected information; (6) not require a child to provide more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in an activity; and (7) maintain the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the information. In order to encourage active industry self-regulation, the Act also includes a “safe harbor” provision allowing industry groups and others to request Commission approval of self-regulatory guidelines to govern participating websites’ compliance with the Rule.
Identity Theft Assumption and Deterrence Act of 1998 (codified in relevant part at 18 U.S.C. § 1028 note)
Section 5 of this Act, Pub. L. No. 105-318, 112 Stat. 3007, makes the FTC a central clearinghouse for identity theft complaints. The Act requires the FTC to log and acknowledge such complaints, provide victims with relevant information, and refer their complaints to appropriate entities (e.g., the major national consumer reporting agencies and other law enforcement agencies).
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act(Pub. L.106-102, 113 Stat.1338, codified in relevant part at 15 U.S.C. §§ 6801-6809 and §§ 6821-6827, as amended)
Title V, subtitle A, of this Act requires the FTC, along with several other agencies, to issue regulations (see 16 CFR Part 313) ensuring that financial institutions protect the privacy of consumers’ personal financial information. Such institutions must develop and give notice of their privacy policies to their own customers at least annually and before disclosing any consumer’s personal financial information to an unaffiliated third party, must give notice and an opportunity for that consumer to “opt out” from such disclosure. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, this rule will transfer to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, but the FTC will continue to have authority to enforce it. The subtitle also requires the FTC and other agencies to issue regulations (see 16 CFR Part 314) for the safeguarding of personal financial information. The Act also limits the sharing of account number information for marketing purposes. Subtitle B of Title V prohibits obtaining customer information of a financial institution by false pretenses. The FTC enforces these provisions with regard to entities not specifically assigned by the provision to the Federal banking agencies or other regulators.
College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act of 2000 (codified in relevant part at 20 U.S.C. § 1092d)
This Act requires the FTC, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Education to jointly submit a report to Congress each year on fraud in the offering of college education financial assistance services. Each report must contain an assessment of the nature and quantity of incidents of such fraud during the previous year. The FTC is also directed to work with the Secretary of Education in maintaining a scholarship fraud awareness site on the Department of Education’s website.
Crimes Against Charitable Americans Act of 2001 (section 1011 of the USA PATRIOT Act) (107 Pub. L. No. 56, codified in relevant part to 15 U.S.C. § 6102, 6106)
This Act amends the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6108, to require the FTC to have in its telemarketing rules a definition of deceptive telemarketing practices that includes fraudulent charitable solicitations. The Act further specifies that the FTC’s telemarketing rules must include a requirement that anyone engaged in telemarketing for the solicitation of charitable contributions must clearly disclose that as the purpose of the call and authorizes the FTC to prescribe other disclosures it considers appropriate.
Do-Not-Call Implementation Act (15 U.S.C. § 6101 note)
This Act authorizes the FTC to collect fees for the implementation and enforcement of a do-not-call registry. The Act allows fees to be collected for fiscal years 2003 through 2007. The Act further requires the FCC to issue a compatible do-not-call registry rule and directs the FTC and the FCC to submit an annual report on the registry to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for fiscal years 2003 through 2007.
Do-Not-Call Registry Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. § 6102 note)
This Act authorizes the FTC under section 3(a)(3)(A) of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, 15 U.S.C. § 6102(a)(3)(A), to implement and enforce a do-not-call registry. The Act also ratified the do-not-call registry provision of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. 310.4(b)(1)(iii), which became effective on March 31, 2003.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (codified to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681x, as amended)
This Act, amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), adds provisions designed to improve the accuracy of consumers’ credit-related records. It gives consumers the right to one free credit report a year from the credit reporting agencies, and consumers may also purchase for a reasonable fee a credit score along with information about how the credit score is calculated. The Act also adds provisions designed to prevent and mitigate identity theft, including a section that enables consumers to place fraud alerts in their credit files. Further, the Act grants consumers additional rights with respect to how their information is used. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, most of the FTC’s rulemaking responsibilities and some study requirements will transfer to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act) (15 U.S.C §§ 7701-7713)
This Act establishes requirements for those who send unsolicited commercial email. The Act bans false or misleading header information and prohibits deceptive subject lines. It also requires that unsolicited commercial email provide recipients with a method for opting out of receiving such email and must be identified as an advertisement. In addition to enforcing the statute, the FTC must issue rules involving the required labeling of sexually explicit commercial email and the criteria for determining the primary purpose of a commercial email. The Act also instructs the Commission to report to Congress on the feasibility of a National Do-Not-E-Mail Registry, as well as requiring reports on the labeling of all unsolicited commercial email, the creation of a “bounty system” to promote enforcement of the law, and the effectiveness and enforcement of the statute.
Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (15 U.S.C. § 7801-7807)
This Act prohibits certain conduct by sports agents relating to the signing of contracts with student athletes. It makes it unlawful for an agent to directly or indirectly recruit a student athlete by giving any false or misleading information, making a false promise or representation, or providing anything of value to a student athlete, or anyone associated with the athlete, before he or she has entered into an agency contract. The Act further requires agents to provide student athletes with a disclosure document, warning them that they may lose their eligibility to compete as student athletes in their sports. The Act provides the Commission and state attorneys general with enforcement authority.
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-8)
This Act amends the Truth in Lending Act in various respects, including requiring certain creditors to disclose on the front of billing statements a minimum monthly payment warning for consumers and a toll-free telephone number, established and maintained by the Commission, for consumers seeking information on the time required to repay specific credit balances.
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (Title 8 of Safe Port Act, Pub. L. 109-347, codified at 31 U.S.C. 5361 et seq.)
This Act prohibits any person engaged in the business of betting, as defined, from knowingly accepting credit, electronic fund transfers, checks, or any other payment involving a financial institution to settle unlawful internet gambling debts. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board must develop jointly and prescribe regulations requiring payment systems to identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit the acceptance of payment for internet gambling transactions. The FTC enforces the Act and regulations with respect to payment systems and financial transaction providers not specifically assigned to other agencies under GLB or the Commodities Exchange Act.
Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP Act, Pub. L.109-422)
This Act formally establishes and enhances the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, of which the FTC is a member.
Health Information Technology (“HITECH”) Provisions of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Title XIII, Subtitle D (Pub. L. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115, codified in relevant part at 42 U.S.C. §§ 17937 and 17954)
This Act directs the FTC to issue a rule requiring entities that obtain consumers’ personal information but are not subject to the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) (Pub. L. No. 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936 (1996)), such as many vendors of personal health records and third party service providers, to notify affected individuals and the FTC (which notifies the Secretary of Health and Human Services) in the event of a data breach or inadvertent disclosure of unsecured identifiable health information in personal health records. The Act also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, consulting with the FTC, to complete a study and report on privacy and security requirements for such entities.
Mortgage-Related Provisions of Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, Title VI, Section 626 (Pub. L. 111-8, 123 Stat. 524, as amended)
Section 626 of this Act directs the Federal Trade Commission to issue rules relating to unfair or deceptive acts or practices regarding mortgage loans, including loan modification and foreclosure rescue services. It also authorizes the FTC to enforce the rules and obtain civil penalties for violations. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the rulemaking authority will transfer to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (“Credit CARD Act”, Pub. L. 111-24, 123 Stat. 1734, as amended by Pub. L. 111-93, 123 Stat. 2998, and Pub. L. 111-209, 123 Stat. 2254, codified in various sections of Title 16 of the U.S. Code)
This Act (a) amends the Truth in Lending Act to prescribe open-end credit lending procedures and enhanced disclosures to consumers, limit related fees and charges to consumers, increase related penalties, and establish constraints and protections for issuance of credit cards to minors and students; (b) amends the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to address fees and other terms of gift certificates, store gift cards, and general-use prepaid cards; (c) amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act by requiring FTC rulemaking to mandate that advertisements for free credit reports disclose that free credit reports are available under Federal law at annualcreditreport.com; and (d) amends the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act mortgage-related rulemaking provisions to clarify the FTC’s rulemaking authority under that act. This Act also requires other rulemaking, studies and activities involving FTC participation.
Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Pub. L. 111-31, 123 Stat. 1776, Division A, codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1340, 15 U.S.C. §§ 4401-4408, 21 U.S.C. §§ 387-387u)
This Act, amending the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (Pub. L. No. 75-717, 52 Stat. 1040), as well as the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act and the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act (see below), provides the Department of Health and Human Services with authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health generally and to reduce tobacco use by minors. The Act limits the applicability of sections 12 through 15 of the FTC Act to tobacco products, but does not disturb the Commission’s other existing enforcement authority regarding such products; in addition, the Commission may enforce against advertisements that violate the tobacco-related provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act and rules under that act. More information is available at http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/default.htm.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Titles X and XIV (Pub. L. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376)
Title X of this Act creates a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection within the Federal Reserve Board as a new supervisor for certain financial firms and as a rulemaker and enforcer against unfair, deceptive, abusive, or otherwise prohibited practices relating to most consumer financial products or services. The Act preserves most of the FTC’s authority over financial practices, transferring most of its rulemaking and some reporting responsibilities under specified consumer financial laws to the Bureau, and providing for FTC/Bureau coordination regarding certain rulemaking and enforcement activities. The Act provides authority for each agency to enforce some of the other’s rules with respect to consumer financial practices. The Act also authorizes FTC rulemaking for motor vehicle dealers under standard Administrative Procedure Act procedures rather than the procedures set forth in the FTC Act. In addition, the Act amends the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to provide for limitations on interchange transaction fees and on the constraints that credit and debit card networks may impose on retailers, and to provide standards for remittance fee practices. It amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require the provision of credit scores to consumers in connection with denials or less favorable offers of credit. It also provides for improved financial disclosures, including integration of mortgage disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
Title XIV of the Act amends the Truth in Lending Act and other consumer financial laws to prevent mortgage-related abuses and to ensure availability of responsible, affordable mortgage credit. It addresses compensation-based incentives; inappropriate steering, discrimination, and other abusive, unfair, deceptive or predatory practices; minimum federal lending standards; high-cost mortgages; mortgage servicing; and appraisals. Title XIV provides a new enforcement role for the FTC regarding home appraisals.
Restore Online Shopper’s Confidence Act (Pub. L. 111-345, 124 Stat. 3618)
This Act prohibits any post-transaction third party seller (a seller who markets goods or services online through an initial merchant after a consumer has initiated a transaction with that merchant) from charging any financial account in an Internet transaction unless it has disclosed clearly all material terms of the transaction and obtained the consumer’s express informed consent to the charge. The seller must obtain the number of the account to be charged directly from the consumer. The Act prohibits initial merchants from disclosing purchasers’ financial account numbers or other billing information to third party sellers. In addition, for all online transactions with a negative option feature (both initial sales and post-transaction sales), the Act requires the seller to disclose clearly all material terms, obtain the consumer’s express informed consent to the charge, and provide a simple means for the consumer to stop recurring charges.
Wool Products Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 68-68j, as amended)
Under this statute, the manufacture, introduction, sale, transportation, distribution, or importation of misbranded wool constitutes a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Act was amended, by the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-417, §§ 301-307, 98 Stat. 1585, 1603, to require (1) that wool product labels indicate the country in which the product was processed or manufactured, and (2) that mail order promotional materials clearly and conspicuously state whether a wool product was processed or manufactured in the United States or was imported.
Fur Products Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 69-69j, as amended)
This statute requires that articles of apparel made of fur be labeled, and that invoices and advertising for furs and fur products specify, among other things, the true English name of the animal from which the fur was taken, and whether the fur is dyed or used. The Act also requires the Commission to issue a Fur Product Name Guide. The statute was amended by the Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-313, 124 Stat. 3326), which eliminates the statute’s exemption for products containing only small quantities or values of fur, and creates a narrow exemption for fur products sold by hunters or trappers in specified circumstances.
Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 70-70k, as amended)
This statute deals with mandatory content disclosure in the labeling, invoicing, and advertising of textile fiber products. Under the Act, misbranding is unlawful, as is falsely or deceptively invoicing or advertising textile fiber products. The Act also directs the Commission to establish a generic name for each man-made fiber that does not as yet have such a name.
The statute was amended by the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 (Pub. L. No. 98-417) to require (1) that any textile fiber product processed or manufactured in the United States be so identified, and (2) that mail order promotional materials clearly and conspicuously indicate whether a textile fiber product was processed or manufactured in the United States or was imported.
Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1340, as amended)
The Cigarette Act, as amended by the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1986 and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (see below), currently requires manufacturers, packagers, and importers of cigarettes to place one of four statutorily-prescribed health-related warnings on cigarette packages and in advertisements, on a rotating basis. Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control, as of October 2012 one of nine statutorily-prescribed health-related warning labels must be used, on a rotating basis approved by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Cigarette Act prohibits any advertising of cigarettes on radio and television. While the Act does not expressly provide for FTC enforcement, the FTC may bring enforcement actions under Section 5 of the FTC Act against unfair or deceptive acts or practices that would also constitute violations of the Cigarette Act.
Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (80 Stat. 1296, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1451-1461)
This Act directs the Commission to issue regulations requiring that all consumer commodities other than food, drugs, therapeutic devices, and cosmetics be labeled to disclose net contents, identity of commodity, and name and place of business of the product’s manufacturer, packer, or distributor. The Act authorizes additional regulations where necessary to prevent consumer deception (or to facilitate value comparisons) with respect to descriptions of ingredients, slack fill of packages, use of “cents-off” or lower price labeling, or characterization of package sizes.