Federal Trade Commission Cease and Desist

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The FTC is a federal government agency of the United States created in 1914 to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce and in 1938 Congress passed a broad prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices.” In 1975 the FTC’s work is performed by Bureaus including Consumer Protection. (1)

Cease and desist order is given by a government administrative agency or court to stop or prohibit a person or business from conducting or stop any suspicion of illegal activities. (2) (Miller and Howell, Business law 6th)

One of the Bureaus division includes Advertising Practices which protects the consumer by enforcing truth-in –advertising law. The FTC relies on the consumers and competitors to complain and or report unlawful practices. The FTC will investigate and if the investigation findings proofs the that ad has been deceptive or unfair the proper action is taken by drawing a formal complaint that is sent to the alleged violator in attempt to bring such to compliance. If the violator does not agree to the complaint the FTC can issue a cease and desist order bringing a civil law suit on behalf of those that have been harmed requiring that the challenged advertising be stopped. (3)

As an example the TFC filed a complaint against POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice for false advertisement. According to FTC, “POM Wonderful violated trade laws by making "false and unsubstantiated claims" that its products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction”. “The verdict in that case was "a clear win for consumers who are constantly bombarded by deceptively labeled products marketed by big juice companies." (4)

1) http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/about.shtm
2) (Miller and Howell, Business law 6th)
3) http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/false-advertising.html and (Miller and Howell, Business law 6th)
4) http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/27/news/companies/POM_Wonderful/index.htm
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