In testimony before the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, the Federal Trade Commission asked Congress to give the agency additional enforcement authority in order to "better equip the Commission to meet its statutory mission to protect consumers."
Specifically, the FTC asked Congress to give the agency jurisdiction over common carriers and non-profits and additional rulemaking authority and to enact privacy and data security legislation, enforceable by the FTC, which allows the FTC to assess civil penalties for the first offense. In light of recent judicial decisions curtailing the FTC's enforcement authority, the FTC also asked Congress to clarify that the FTC has authority to seek equitable monetary remedies, including restitution to consumers and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. The FTC said, "our ability to get full redress for consumers is in peril."
The FTC also reported on its efforts to related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FTC said that it has "worked aggressively to combat consumer protection issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic." Nothing that it has received more than 131,000 complaints relating to COVID-19, the FTC said that it is monitoring the marketplace for unsubstantiated health claims, robocalls, privacy and data security concerns, sham charities, online shopping fraud, phishing scams, work at home scams, credit scams, and fake mortgage and student loan relief schemes. The FTC emphasized, however, that although it is aggressively engaged in pandemic-related enforcement, it is continuing its regular consumer protection work.
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