July 20, 2021

For Immediate Release:

Statement on House Passage of Bill to Restore Consumer Agency’s Power to Stop Scams, Refund Victims 

Senate Should Quickly Take Up and Pass H.R. 2668

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Public interest groups, the Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice at UC Berkeley, Consumer Reports, National Association of Consumer Advocates and Truthinadvertising.org, today lauded the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2668, the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act.

Following a Supreme Court decision this past spring, AMG Capital Management v. FTC, which wiped away the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to seek equitable relief for consumer victims of scams and deception in the marketplace, today’s vote on H.R. 2668 takes Congress one step closer to restoring the FTC’s authority to seek refunds for victims, and to force bad actors to surrender their ill-gotten gains under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), also clarifies the FTC’s ability to seek court orders to stop scams, and to stop fraudsters and others from reviving their deceptive and dishonest practices.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where a similar 13(b) fix was proposed last year by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), then chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

“We are grateful to Rep. Cardenas and the U.S. House leadership for recognizing the urgency in restoring FTC’s longstanding authority, under which it has returned $11.5 billion in refunds to nearly 10 million people since 2018,” said Christine Hines, legislative director at National Association of Consumer Advocates. “Now it is the U.S. Senate’s time to quickly pass this legislation so that the FTC can go back to doing its job.”

“Every day, in every state and city and town in this country, scammers try to take advantage of consumers,” said Ted Mermin, who directs the Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice at UC Berkeley. “And if a rogue business steals our money, we want the FTC to be able to get it back. It’s that simple.”

“Consumers are being targeted by a whole host of pandemic-related fraudulent schemes at the same time that the FTC’s ability to protect them has been seriously hamstrung,” said Anna Laitin, director of financial fairness and legislative strategy for Consumer Reports. “This bill restores the FTC’s ability to go after unscrupulous companies, prevent them from profiting off of their actions, and recover timely refunds for consumers who are ripped off by fraud. We applaud the House for passing this legislation and urge the Senate to follow suit. We need to ensure the FTC has the tools it needs to vigorously enforce the law and provide victims of fraud the relief they deserve.”

“Consumers and honest businesses scored a win today with the passing of H.R. 2668,” according to Shana Mueller, director of public policy and communications at truthinadvertising.org. “Now the Senate needs to finish the job so that the FTC can continue its critical work of stopping scammers and fraudsters by not allowing them to keep their ill-gotten gains.”