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Federal Trade Commission Civil Penalties Receive Inflation Adjusted Increases

V&E Antitrust Update E-communication, January 25, 2018

On January 22, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission published the revised maximum monetary penalties for civil violations within its jurisdiction.  The penalty levels, which were published in the Federal Register, were increased modestly to account for inflation. The new penalties are effective as of January 22, but are not retroactive to previously assessed or enforced penalties the FTC has already collected or is currently collecting.

The increases are being made as part of the FTC’s directive under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which requires federal agencies to make annual adjustments to civil penalties within their jurisdiction to account for inflation. Based on the Consumer Price Index for the month of October 2017, not seasonally adjusted, the cost of living adjustment multiplier used for the 2018 increases was 1.02041.

A table summary of the increases to the FTC’s competition and consumer protection laws is below. It is important to remember that for continuing violations, such as violations of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements Act, each day is a separate violation. For example, a failure to report an acquisition in violation of the HSR Act for 30 days would trigger a maximum penalty of $1,244,520 (30 days x $41,484/day = $1,244,520).

CitationDescriptionPrior Penalty (2017)Adjusted Penalty (2018)
Section 7A(g)(1) of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 18a(g)(1) Premerger filing notification violations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements Act $40,654 $41,484
Section 11(l) of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 21(l) Violations of cease and desist orders issued under Clayton Act section 11(b) $21,598 $22,039
Section 5(l) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(l) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices $40,654 $41,484
Section 5(m)(1)(A) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(m)(1)(A) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices $40,654 $41,484
Section 5(m)(1)(B) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(m)(1)(B) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices $40,654 $41,484
Section 10 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 50 Failure to file required reports $534 $545
Section 5 of the Webb-Pomerene (Export Trade) Act, 15 U.S.C. 65 Failure by associations engaged solely in export trade to file required statements $534 $545
Section 6(b) of the Wool Products Labeling Act, 15 U.S.C. 68d(b) Failure by wool manufacturers to maintain required records $534 $545
Section 3(e) of the Fur Products Labeling Act, 15 U.S.C. 69a(e) Failure to maintain required records regarding fur products $534 $545
Section 8(d)(2) of the Fur Products Labeling Act, 15 U.S.C. 69f(d)(2) Failure to maintain required records regarding fur products $534 $545
Section 333(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, 42 U.S.C. 6303(a) Knowing violations of EPCA section 332, including labeling violations $440 $449
Section 525(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, 42 U.S.C. 6395(a) Recycled oil labeling violations $21,598 $22,039
Section 525(b) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, 42 U.S.C. 6395(b) Willful violations of recycled oil labeling requirements $40,654 $41,484
Section 621(a)(2) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681s(a)(2) Knowing violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act $3,817 $3,895
Section 1115(a) of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, Public Law 108–173, 21 U.S.C. 355 note Failure to comply with filing requirements $14,373 $14,666
Section 814(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 42 U.S.C. 17304 Violations of prohibitions on market manipulation and provision of false information to federal agencies $1,156,953 $1,180,566


Visit our website to learn more about V&E’s Antitrust Transactional practice. For more information, please contact Vinson & Elkins lawyer Billy Vigdor.


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This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.