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Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee to Markup Legislation to Restore FTC’s 13(b) Consumer Protection Powers

May 25, 2021
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) announced today that the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee will hold a fully remote markup on Thursday, May 27, at 11 a.m. (EDT) on legislation to restore the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 13(b) consumer protection powers to return money to defrauded consumers.

“Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the FTC may no longer use its authority to get Americans their money back from fraudsters and scammers,” Pallone and Schakowsky said. “This decision undermined a key tool in the FTC’s toolbox, which it used for more than four decades to carry out its mission to protect consumers. In the days before the Supreme Court issued its ruling, Subcommittee Vice Chair Cárdenas introduced the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act to affirm the FTC’s authorities, which was cosponsored by every Democratic member of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee. On Thursday, we look forward to marking up this critical legislation to restore the FTC’s power to force companies engaged in illegal activity to return funds to the consumers they have wronged.” 

This markup will take place remotely via Cisco Webex video conferencing. Members of the public may view the markup via live webcast accessible on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website. Please note the webcast will not be available until the markup begins.

The Subcommittee will consider the following bill:

H.R. 2668, the “Consumer Protection and Recovery Act,” which was introduced by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA). The legislation would amend section 13(b) of the FTC Act to explicitly provide FTC the ability to obtain both injunctive and monetary equitable relief for all violations of the laws it enforces. It adds a new subsection (e) to section 13 of the FTC Act that specifies types of equitable relief the FTC may pursue: restitution for losses, contract reformation and recission, money refunds, and the return of property. The new subsection (e) also provides the FTC disgorgement authority to seek court orders requiring bad actors repay unjust gains acquired in violation of the law. Any amount a court orders to be returned in equitable relief must be offset by any amount the court orders be paid in disgorgement. Such relief is allowed for violations occurring up to the ten years prior to the date a suit is filed, including any violations that occur after the suit is filed. This ten-year period is extended when relief is sought for individuals who are outside of the United States during this period. The bill also makes clear that the FTC may seek temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions without bond and that any relief sought under section 13(b) may be for past violations in addition to ongoing and imminent violations. The bill applies to any currently pending FTC action or proceeding in addition to those commenced on or after the date of enactment.

Information for this markup, including the Committee Memorandum, electronic copies of the legislation and any amendments, and a link to the live webcast will be posted HERE as they become available.