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Supreme Court Reigns in FTC’s Authority

April 23, 2021

Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued the following statement regarding today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of AMG Capital Management LLC v. FTC:

“In AMG Capital, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of scam artists and dishonest corporations, leaving average Americans to pay for illegal behavior,” Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said. “With this ruling, the Court has deprived the FTC of the strongest tool we had to help consumers when they need it most. We urge Congress to act swiftly to restore and strengthen the powers of the agency so we can make wronged consumers whole.”

Over the past four decades, the Commission has relied on Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act to secure billions of dollars in relief for consumers in a wide variety of cases, including telemarketing fraud, anticompetitive pharmaceutical practices, data security and privacy, scams that target seniors and veterans, and deceptive business practices, among many others. More recently, in the wake of the pandemic, the FTC has used Section 13(b) to take action against entities operating COVID-related scams. Section 13(b) enforcement cases have resulted in the return of billions of dollars to consumers targeted by a wide variety of illegal scams and anticompetitive practices, including $11.2 billion in refunds to consumers during just the past five years.

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of AMG Services, Inc. and Scott Tucker who stole more than $1.3 billion from consumers through a deceptive payday lending scheme. By misrepresenting loan terms, the defendant caused borrowers to pay more than seven times the interest they were told they would pay.

On Tuesday, the full Commission testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and submitted testimony on the need for 13(b) legislation.

The Acting Chairwoman will appear before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to advocate on behalf of consumers for Congress to act quickly and advance legislation to protect and strengthen the FTC’s powers.

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