The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic lives of most Americans. In fact, the agency has a long tradition of maintaining a competitive marketplace for both consumers and businesses. When the FTC was created in 1914, its purpose was to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce as part of the battle to “bust the trusts.” Over the years, Congress passed additional laws giving the agency greater authority to police anticompetitive practices.
In 1938, Congress passed the Wheeler-Lea Amendment, which included a broad prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices.” Since then, the Commission also has been directed to administer a wide variety of other consumer protection laws, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
In 1975, Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Act, which gave the FTC the authority to adopt trade regulation rules that define unfair or deceptive acts in particular industries. Trade regulation rules have the force of law. As you read through this booklet, you will learn about other laws that enable the FTC to help consumers.