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Definition: FTC - Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent federal agency which strives to protect consumers on one hand and attempts to ensure fair competition in the market on the other. These goals it achieves by upholding a set of consumer protection and anti-trust laws. FTC protects consumers’ interests and investigates unfair business practices. FTC tries to enforce a balanced & strongly competitive market. It can basically be considered the Competition & Consumer Protection Authority in the United States. Competition Commission of India (CCI) can be considered an equivalent authority in India.
The FTC has cracked down a number of scams that deceitfully offer some kind of product or service or make false claims about certain offers. For example, FTC tracked down the scams in the 2012 case where several people were conned by scams offering tech support for a fake virus.
The FTC also reviews upcoming mergers and its approval is often important for the merger to go through. The idea is to allow nothing to hurt the competition in the market. More competition in the market is often seen as a boon for consumers who are expected to get better quality and better value for their money.
The merger between Office Depot and Staples, proposed in the year 1997, was considered harmful for competition in the office supply stores market. FTC successfully challenged the merger and did not allow it to go through. However, when the competition scenario changed, FTC allowed Office Dept to merge with one of the other giants in the office supply store business- OfficeMax- in the year 2013.