Maui Business

Hawai’i Attorney General Urges Returning Power to FTC for Consumer Protection

July 3, 2021, 10:17 AM HST
* Updated July 2, 9:10 AM
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Hawaiʻi Attorney General Clare E Connors. PC: Office of the Governor

Hawai’i Attorney General Clare E. Connors joined a coalition of 29 attorney generals from around the nation and Hawai’i Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Stephen Levins to support the Federal Trade Commission in its efforts to combat fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct.

In a letter to congressional leaders, the coalition expresses its strong support for the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act (H.R. 2668), which would ensure the ability of the FTC to obtain “equitable monetary relief, including restitution for consumers and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains,” after a US Supreme Court decision changed established practice earlier this year. 

“The FTC consistently has stood alongside Hawaiʻi’s consumer protection agencies to protect the public from dishonest and predatory practices,” said Attorney General Connors. “This partnership has helped Hawaiʻi use its resources more effectively to protect its consumers, and passage of the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act will allow the collaboration to continue.”

“Historically, the FTC has played a critical role in securing restitution for consumers from violators of consumer laws,” OCP Executive Director Stephen Levins said. “Congress needs to act as soon as possible to restore its authority to do so.”

For 40 years, the FTC was able to obtain equitable monetary relief by suing wrongdoers in district court. In fact, in the last five years alone, the FTC successfully recovered over $11.2 billion in refunds for consumers through court actions. But this all changed with the Supreme Court’s April 2021 decision in AMG Capital Management, LLC, et al. v. Federal Trade Commission, which limited the ability of the FTC to recover money for injured consumers. 

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The AGs say “Unfair and deceptive trade practices are a serious problem in the United States and the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has led to an uptick in consumer complaints.”

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The letter can be found here.

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