WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports today applauded an announcement by the Federal Trade Commission’s acting chair Rebecca Slaughter, who said the FTC is establishing a new rulemaking group within the FTC’s Office of the General Counsel. Slaughter said the new structure will allow the FTC to take “a strategic and harmonized approach to rulemaking across its different authorities and mission areas,” which will allow the commission to “strengthen existing rules and to undertake new rulemakings to prohibit unfair or deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition.”
Sumit Sharma, Consumer Reports senior researcher for technology competition, said, “This is very encouraging news. It sends a clear message that the FTC is going to prioritize rulemaking going forward, which we hope will lead to stronger consumer protections and greater corporate accountability.”
Sharma said one area in which such rules will be particularly useful is the online marketplace. “A handful of companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook are now among the most powerful companies in the world today,” Sharma said, “and they have become so dominant and entrenched that they have the power to call the shots as gatekeepers for everyone else. We look forward to working with the rulemaking group to interpret and prohibit unfair methods of competition, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, so we can address the persistent market dominance, abuse of dominance, and gatekeeper power of online platforms.”
Consumer Reports said other priorities for the new FTC rulemaking group should include requiring all-in pricing in marketplaces — like hotel reservations and online event ticket sales — where hidden fees proliferate, and regulating the practices of auto dealers.
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