Federal Trade Commission

What Is The Federal Trade Commission?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a federal agency that handles complaints filed regarding unfair business practices. Some common issues that the FTC handles include consumer scams, deceptive and false advertising claims, and monopolistic practices. The FTC is also responsible for reviewing business mergers to ensure that they do not hurt competition and or harm consumers. Since the FTC is an administrative agency, its rulings are not directly enforceable, but agencies can go to the courts to have their rulings enforced.

The FTC has brought claims against Amazon, alleging that the billing of parents and other account holders for in-app purchases incurred by children “without having obtained the account holders’ express informed consent” is unlawful under the FTC Act, and is an unfair billing practice.1 The court denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss because it found that Amazon had not shown evidence that the purchases by the children were authorized or that having authorization would make it fair to bill account holders.2 There was not enough evidence presented to dismiss the claim. Amazon customers may not have known about in app purchases or the refund process or may have been deterred by having to get in contact with someone in order to get the refund, these factors all helped lead to the conclusion that the practice was in fact unfair.3

  1. FTC v. Amazon.com, Inc., 71 F. Supp. 3d 1158 (W.D. Wash. 2014).


  • FTC v. Amazon.com, Inc., 71 F. Supp. 3d 1158 (W.D. Wash. 2014).

In this case, the federal trade commission was suing Amazon for holding parents liable for their children’s “in app purchases.” Amazon moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim.  The court denied the motion to dismiss because plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to create a claim for relief under section 5 of the FTC Act.