On March 25, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) released an article reflecting on its work in 2020. The following are some of the most notable actions of the FTC in 2020:
- The Commission launched a new website, where consumers can report scams and frauds.
- A new initiative, called the Community Advocate Center, was created to partner with legal aid organizations to expand the FTC’s outreach to low-income communities and encourage them to report fraud.
- Out of the FTC’s enforcement actions, 25% were against health care pharmaceuticals and medical devices, another 25% for manufacturing and chemicals, and 21% against general health care.
- The Commission actively worked to preserve competition and challenged a number of mergers from hospitals, in-home nursing services, and pharmaceuticals, to name a few.
- As always, the FTC stopped deceptive and unfair marketing practices. For example, several cases were brought against companies that failed to deliver on their promises for high-demand goods as a result of the pandemic.
- In 2020, 1.66 million consumers received $106.8 million in redress directly from the FTC. An additional $376.9 million went to consumers in redress administered by others.
- The Commission obtained 23 administrative orders; 66 redress, disgorgement, and permanent injunction orders; and eight civil penalty orders.
We are not expecting the FTC to slow down in 2021. Biden’s nomination of Lina Khan, as discussed in our recent blog post, is a clear signal that the FTC — and other federal consumer protection agencies — will pursue an aggressive enforcement strategy during the Biden administration.