Where Are FTC Decisions Published?

By Andrea Freygang

  • Overview

    As a business owner, or even as just a consumer, you may be curious about what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does and is responsible for. In addition to oversight to business practices, the FTC also publishes a number of opinions or decisions on specific anticompetitive lawsuits. Read on to find out what the FTC is and how you can find information about the decisions they make.
  • History

    When President Woodrow Wilson officially enacted the FTC on September 26, 1914, the FTC has been in charge of ensuring fair business practices. In the late 19th century, a number of larger corporations had a monopoly on the market and worked to keep that monopoly. While these original corporations were called trusts, the FTC now keeps an eye on business mergers and monopolies heavily, especially in the media, real estate and health industries to ensure there isn't an unfair competitive advantage.
  • Function

    The main goal has been keeping an eye on what the FTC calls "anti-competitive practices," which protect the average business owner from unfair methods of competition. The FTC creates policies by working with the legislature and with other experts to determine its policies. According to the FTC, the office has also since been charged with overseeing the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act as well as adopting industry-wide trade regulation rules.

  • Significance

    The purpose of the agency is to protect consumers from unfair pricing due to a lack of competition. If there wasn't competition in products such as electronics, food or medicine, for example, companies could charge whatever they wanted. With multiple options to choose from, consumers can opt to buy cheaper or more expensive items. A variety of options also forces the price down for the consumer.
  • Decisions

    Every year, the FTC publishes hundreds of legal documents and policy changes. Many of these documents come from decisions the FTC makes regarding mergers, acquisitions, monopolies, consumer complaints and legal cases. When a decision has been made by the commission, it is published. Legal cases can also lead to policy changes. If you are looking for a past decision, you can now find the decisions from 1969 to 2005 online at http://www.ftc.gov/os/decisions/index.shtm. This has over 70,000 pages of documents pertaining to antitrust law and commission actions. These were put online in 2006. Newer decisions can be found online at http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm.
  • Other ways of getting information

    If you can't find what you need online, there are other ways to contact the FTC. To contact the FTC's Bureau of Competition, use the contact information below and include your day-time telephone number. Phone: (202) 326-3300 Office of Policy and Coordination Room 394 Bureau of Competition Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580 Email: [email protected] (Note: FTC says email is not secure. Mark confidential information "Confidential" and send it via postal mail.)
  • Do Not Call registry

    The FTC is also responsible for the Do Not Call registry that allows consumers to opt out of telemarketing calls. Once your name has been placed on this list, telemarketers cannot call you (with a 30-day processing time required from the time you sign up). You can sign up online at https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx or call 1-888-382-1222, TTY: 1-866-290-4236.
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