ABSTRACT :: State Consumer Protection Acts (CPAs) were designed to supplement the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) mission of protecting consumers and are often referred to as “Little-FTC Acts.” There is growing concern that enforcement under these acts is not only qualitatively different than FTC enforcement but may also be counterproductive for consumers. This Article examines a sample of CPA claims and compares them to the FTC standard. It identifies qualitative differences between CPA and FTC claims by commissioning a “Shadow Federal Trade Commission” of experts in consumer protection. The study finds that many CPA claims include conduct that would not be illegal under the FTC standards and most of the cases with illegal conduct would not warrant FTC enforcement. Even among CPA cases in which the plaintiff prevailed, nearly half do not include illegal conduct under the FTC standard and most of the cases with illegal conduct would not invoke FTC enforcement. The results clearly suggest private litigation under Little-FTC Acts tends to pursue a different consumer protection mission than the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission.
April 2014, Vol. 66, No. 2
Sergio J. Campos, Class Actions and Justiciability
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, Constitutional Culpability: Questioning the New Exclusionary Rules
Alberto R. Gonzales & Amy L. Moore, No Right at All: Putting Consular Notification in its Rightful Place After Medellin
Kevin J. Lynch, The Lock-in Effect of Preliminary Injunctions
Anne R. Traum, Using Outcomes to Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication
Stephen E. Ludovici, Rule 60(b)(4): When the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Yield to Finality