These agencies aid consumers in avoiding financial scams, discrimination and unsafe products by investigating complaints, suing businesses and informing them of their rights and responsibilities
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission works to safeguard consumers and foster competition in the economy. It does this through law enforcement, advocacy, research, and education.
The FTC enforces a variety of statutes that prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce. These include the Federal Trade Commission Act and several special consumer protection acts which have been amended to give them additional enforcement power.
Bureau attorneys investigate alleged violations of the FTC Act and other laws; suggest to the Commission any further steps that may be necessary; and prosecute enforcement actions authorized by the Commission. These may include administrative or federal court litigation; negotiating settlements of complaints; initiating rules or reports; and seeking civil penalties for rule violations.
The FTC has the authority to issue a variety of business regulations, which are codified in Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules influence nearly every aspect of American life from taxation and employment practices to trade agreements and international affairs.
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration, commonly referred to as FDA, is a United States federal agency responsible for safeguarding public health by regulating many products. These include drugs, medical devices, biological items, foods and dietary supplements.
The FDA is responsible for confirming that products are safe and effective before they can be sold in the United States. They accomplish this goal through inspections, reviews, research, and testing.
Hospitals, doctors and patients must report side effects and complications related to drugs, medical devices and vaccines in order for the FDA to monitor their safety. If there is evidence that there could be an increased risk for consumers, they may take action.
The FDA’s mandate also extends to controlling product importation into the country. They must inspect incoming goods for any risks or hazards and issue announcements regarding product recalls when necessary.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a federal agency that safeguards consumers against unreasonable risks of injuries or deaths caused by consumer products. Established in 1972 as part of the Consumer Product Safety Act, this organization regulates over 15,000 different items such as cribs to all-terrain vehicles.
The CPSC’s services include investigating complaints and incidents, inspecting and repairing consumer products, conducting public campaigns to warn buyers of potential hazards, and enforcing product safety laws through voluntary corrective actions, recalls and fines. With a small staff size, the CPSC relies heavily on reports from consumers in order to stay abreast of potentially hazardous items.
In addition to the Consumer Product Safety Act, CPSC also administers various other acts such as Flammable Fabrics Act, Refrigerator Safety Act, Federal Hazardous Substances Act and Poison Prevention Packaging Act. These statutes aim to safeguard consumers from injuries or deaths caused not only by accidents with consumer products but also work-related hazards found in commercial machinery.
Consumer Federation of America
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is a non-profit research, advocacy, education and government affairs organization. Through CFA consumers have an informed voice in decisions that affect their lives.
CFA is an advocate group that works to advance pro-consumer policy on a range of matters before Congress, the White House, federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as the courts.
CFA’s professional staff collects facts, analyses issues and provides data to the public, policymakers and others in the consumer movement.
CFA’s research on consumer topics provides insight and solutions. This data forms the basis for new initiatives, public service advertising campaigns, as well as consumer information and education programs.
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