The Consumer Protection Remedies Act would restore the FTC’s ability to return money and other relief to consumers victimized by unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that her legislation to protect victims of scams has passed the Senate Commerce Committee. The Consumer Protection Remedies Act, which Klobuchar leads with Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) would restore the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s decades-long authority to ask courts to require scammers and other bad actors to return money to consumers victimized by illegal scams, fraud, and other unfair or deceptive practices.
In April 2021, the Supreme Court slashed the FTC’s “Section 13(b)” authority, which the FTC utilized to return $11.2 billion dollars to consumers in the five years prior to the decision.
“As our nation’s top consumer protection agency, the FTC must be empowered with the necessary tools to stand up for consumers and small businesses that have fallen victim to scams and fraud schemes,” said Klobuchar. “This legislation will re-establish the FTC’s ability to return money to victims of unfair or anticompetitive practices, and hold scammers and monopolists accountable for their unlawful conduct.”
The Consumer Protection Remedies Act would:
- Allow the FTC to go to court and ask the judge to order scammers and other lawbreakers to return the money they unlawfully took from consumers.
- Permit the FTC to go to court and seek monetary remedies for consumers who were harmed because of anticompetitive, unfair, deceptive, or other unlawful conduct.
- Confirm that the FTC may sue for injunctions and consumer redress for prior conduct, not just ongoing conduct, to stop lawbreakers from reverting back to their unlawful conduct.
- Ensure that the FTC argues in front of a neutral federal judge, with the opportunity to appeal contested decisions.
- Require that refunds or other relief be “in the public interest,” as determined by the judge.
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from fraud and anticompetitive conduct. In March, her bipartisan legislation with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to prevent fraud targeting seniors was signed into law.
Additionally, last month, Klobuchar introduced legislation with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to give the FTC additional authority to go after companies that price gouge during crises.
Last July, Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to combat fraud and scams in the travel and tourism industry passed the Commerce Committee.