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Supreme Court decision 9-0 reduces FTC’s ability to seek redress from consumers

Congress response: FTC leaders had previously warned that consumers would be the ones to suffer if the Supreme Court overturned the agency’s ability to seek monetary penalties.

“Enforcement will slow down and remedies for consumers will dry up if Congress does not act quickly to assert our full authority under 13 (b),” said Acting FTC President Rebecca Kelly Slaughter , during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Congress is already considering legislation to remedy the Supreme Court ruling. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing next week on whether the FTC needs a new authority to seek redress from consumers. The Supreme Court case was also a key topic in an FTC Senate oversight hearing this week.

“We need to do whatever we can to protect this authority and, if necessary, pass new legislation to do so,” Senate of Commerce President Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Said at the same hearing Tuesday.

The case: The agency has used 13 (b) for decades to force companies to reimburse aggrieved consumers, but appeals courts have recently raised questions about this authority.

In the Supreme Court case, the FTC sued AMG Capital Management, a payday lender run by former race car driver Scott Tucker, for allegedly misleading consumers about the terms of short-term loans and high interest. A lower court ordered AMG and Tucker to reimburse $ 1.3 billion in restitution to consumers, an order upheld on appeal. AMG then asked Supreme Court justices to weigh in on the authority of the FTC.

Cristiano Lima contributed to this report.

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