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settlements or court-ordered injunctive or other equitable relief. Public Input Cases before the Commission may originate through complaint by a consumer or a competitor; the Congress, or from Federal, State, or municipal agencies. Also, the Commission itself may initiate an investigation into possible violation of the laws it administers. No formality is required in submitting a complaint. A letter giving the facts in detail, accompanied by all supporting evidence in possession of the complaining party, is sufficient. It is the general policy of the Commission not to disclose the identity of any complainant, except as permitted by law or Commission rules.
Upon receipt of a complaint, various criteria are applied in determining whether the particular matter should be investigated. Within the limits of available resources, investigations are initiated that are considered to best support the Commission's goals of maintaining competition and protecting consumers.
Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, an order to cease and desist or to take other corrective action—such as affirmative disclosure, divestiture, or restitution—becomes final 60 days after date of service upon the respondent, unless within that period the respondent petitions an appropriate United States court of appeals to review the order, and also petitions the Commission to stay the order pending review. If the Commission does not stay the order, the respondent may seek a stay from the reviewing appeals court. The appeals court has the power to affirm, modify, or set the order aside. If the appeals court upholds the Commission's order, the respondent may seek certiorari to the Supreme Court and ask that the appeals court or the Supreme Court continue to stay the order. Violations of a cease-and-desist order, after it becomes effective, subject the offender to suit by the Government in a United States district court for the recovery of a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation and, where the violation continues, each day of its continuance is a separate violation.
In addition to, or in lieu of, the administrative proceeding initiated by a formal complaint, the Commission may, in some cases, request that a United States district court issue a preliminary or permanent injunction to halt the use of allegedly unfair or deceptive practices, to prevent an anticompetitive merger from taking place, or to prevent violations of any statute enforced by the Commission. Compliance Activities Through systematic and continuous review, the Commission obtains and maintains compliance with its cease-and-desist orders. All respondents against whom such orders have been issued are required to file reports with the Commission to substantiate their compliance. In the event compliance is not obtained, or if the order is subsequently violated, civil penalty proceedings may be instituted. Cooperative Procedures in carrying out the statutory directive to "prevent" the use in or affecting commerce of unfair practices, the Commission makes extensive use of voluntary and cooperative procedures. Through these procedures business and industry may obtain authoritative guidance and a substantial measure of certainty as to what they may do under the laws administered by the Commission.
The Commission issues industry guides, administrative interpretations in laymen's language of laws administered by the Commission for the guidance of the public in conducting its affairs in conformity with legal requirements. Guides provide the basis for voluntary and simultaneous abandonment of unlawful practices by members of a particular industry or industry in general. Failure to comply with the guides may result in corrective action by the Commission under applicable statutory provisions. Consumer Protection Consumer protection is one of the two main missions of the Commission. The Commission works to increase the usefulness of advertising by ensuring it is truthful and not misleading; reduce instances of fraudulent, deceptive, or
unfair marketing practices; and prevent creditors from using unlawful practices when granting credit, maintaining credit information, collecting debts, and operating credit systems. The Commission initiates investigations in many areas of concern to consumers, including health claims in food advertising; environmental advertising and labeling; general advertising issues; health care fraud; telemarketing, business opportunity, and franchise and investment fraud; mortgage lending and discrimination; enforcement of Commission orders; and enforcement of credit statutes and trade regulation rules.
The Commission has issued and enforces certain trade regulation rules important to consumers. The Used Car Rule requires that dealers display a buyers guide containing warranty information on the window of each vehicle offered for sale to consumers. The Mail Order Rule requires companies to ship merchandise that consumers order by mail or telephone within a certain time, and sets out requirements for notifying consumers about delays and offering them the option of agreeing to the delays or canceling their orders. The Funeral Rule requires that price and other specific information regarding funeral arrangements be made available to consumers to help them make informed choices and pay only for services they select. The Franchise Rule requires the seller to provide each prospective franchisee with a basic disclosure document containing detailed information about the nature of its business and terms of the proposed franchise relationship. The R-Value Rule requires manufacturers to disclose the Rvalue (a measure of resistance to heat flow) of their home-insulation products. Under the Cooling-Off Rule, consumers can cancel purchases of $25 or more made door-to-door, or at places other than the seller's usual place of business, within 3 business days of purchase. Maintaining Competition (Antitrust) The second major mission of the Commission is to encourage competitive forces in the American economy. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Commission seeks to prevent unfair
practices that may keep one company from competing with others. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Act, the Commission attempts to prevent mergers of companies if the result may be to lessen competition. Under some circumstances, companies planning to merge must first give notice to the Commission and the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and provide certain information concerning the operations of the companies involved.
The Commission also enforces the provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act, a part of the Clayton Act prohibiting companies from discriminating among other companies that are its customers in terms of price or other services provided. Economic Factfinding the Commission makes economic studies of conditions and problems affecting competition in the economy. Reports of this nature may be used to inform legislative proposals, as part of a rulemaking record, in response to requests of the Congress and statutory directions, or for the information and guidance of the Commission and the executive branch of the Government as well as the public. The reports have provided the basis for significant legislation and, by spotlighting poor economic or regulatory performance, they have also led to voluntary changes in the conduct of business, with resulting benefits to the public. Competition and Consumer Advocacy To promote competition, consumer protection, and the efficient allocation of resources, the Commission has an ongoing program designed to advocate the consumer interest in a competitive marketplace by encouraging courts, legislatures, and government administrative bodies to consider efficiency and consumer welfare as important elements in their deliberations.
The Commission uses these opportunities to support procompetitive means of regulating the Nation's economy, including the elimination of anticompetitive restrictions that reduce the welfare of consumers and the implementation of regulatory programs
that protect the public and preserve as and consumer advocacy program relies much as possible the discipline of on persuasion rather than coercion. competitive markets. The competition
Regional Offices-Federal Trade Commission
Atlanta, GA—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Rm. 1000, 1718 Peachtree St. NW., 30367 Anthony E. DiResta
North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vir
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
nesota, Missouri, Wisconsin
Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Vir
ginia Dallas, TX-Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Okla Suite 500, 100 N. Central Expressway, Thomas B. Carter homa, Texas
75201 Denver, Co-Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Ne Suite 1523, 1961 Stout St., 80294–0101 Claude C. Wild III
braska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyo
ming Los Angeles, CA Arizona, southern California Suite 13209, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., 90024 Ann I. Jones New York-New Jersey, New York
Suite 1300, 150 William St., 10038
Michael J. Bloom San Francisco, CA—Northern California, Hawaii, Ne Suite 570, 901 Market St., 94103
Jeffrey A. Klurleld vada Seattle, WA-Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington 2806 Federal Bldg., 915 2d Ave., 98174 Charles A. Harwood
Sources of Information
Commission, Washington, DC 20580.
Over 140 of the Commission's consumer publications are also available online. Internet, gopher:// consumer.ftc.gov:2416/.
For further information, contact the Director, Office of Public Affairs, Federal Trade Commission,
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Administrator of General Services
DAVID J. BARRAM, Acting
THURMAN M. DAVIS, Acting
ROBERT L. NEAL, JR.
MARTHA N. JOHNSON
JACK J. LANDERS GAIL P. LOVELACE JOHN H. DAVENJAY
GREGORY L. KNOTT JON R. HALSALL
JON A. JORDAN ERIC DODDS ROBERT J. WOODS
MARGARET BINNS BRUCE BRIGNULL
Services and Human Resources
Director of the Executive Secretariat Commissioner for Federal Telecommunications
Service Deputy Commissioner Assistant Commissioner for Acquisition Assistant Commissioner for Customer Service Assistant Commissioner for Network
Applications Assistant Commissioner for Regional Services Assistant Commissioner for Service
Deputy Chief Information Officer
Director, Business Industry Outreach
Deputy Inspector General
Director, Internal Evaluation Program
Clerk of the Board
Director of Budget
SANDRA BATES CLAUDIA BENNETT
LINDA F. VANDENBERG
WILLIAM R. BARTON JOEL S. GALLAY WILLIAM E. WHYTE, JR. JAMES E. HENDERSON LAWRENCE J. DEMPSEY
James E. LE GETTE
KATHLEEN S. TIGHE
Director of Finance
Director of Financial Management Systems
Associate General Counsel for General Law
ROBERT E. SUDA
SHARON A. ROACH
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICE
Commissioner, Information Technology Service
JOE M. THOMPSON
FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE 1941 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA; Mailing address: Washington, DC 20406 Phone, 703-305-6667
PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE
Commissioner, Public Buildings Service
ROBERT A. PECK
STEVEN R. MEAD