Four ways the FTC is raising a toast to small business
We’d invite you to uncork the bubbly in honor of National Small Business Week, but most small business owners are too busy minding the store to take a celebratory break. So instead, we’ll recap what the FTC is doing to streamline compliance responsibilities for smaller companies.
1. The FTC’s Regulatory Review Project. FTC rules and guides play an important role in protecting consumers from misleading practices, but it’s important to keep the rule book lean. That why the FTC takes a systematic look at each rule at least once every 10 years — more often, if necessary — to see if it’s doing the job. Do we still need the rule? What’s the economic impact? Have there been developments – legal, technological, etc. – that change the regulatory picture? Since the project started, the FTC has taken dozens of regs off the books. During that same time, we’ve added just a handful, most of which were required by statute. Our point: When it comes to cutting red tape for small businesses, we’re not the type that slices it lengthwise.
2. Online filing of public comments. When the FTC is considering changes to existing rules or looking into the effect of new technologies, we invite comments from the public. Years ago, that seemed to be the purview of people in pinstripes. (Lawyers, not Yankees.) Of course, we welcome input from law firms or industry groups. But the FTC’s online system for filing public comments makes it simple for everyone to offer feedback, including consumers and small business owners who can offer insights into how things work on a day-to-day basis. Now it’s as easy as dashing off an email. If there is a proposed change to a rule or perhaps a pending law enforcement settlement you’d like to weigh in on, tell us what's on your mind. Just click the link from the FTC press release (or the Business Center Blog) and you’ll have our immediate attention.
3. Law enforcement efforts against scammers that target small businesses. While you’re serving your customers, you also need to keep office supplies stocked, contract with service providers, and look for ways to grow your business. Fraudsters know you’re swamped and hope you’ll be too busy to spot the signs of a B2B rip-off. But the FTC has your back. We’ve gone to court to shut down business directory swindlers, “own your own business” con artists, and other rotten apples that target entrepreneurs. We’ve also put together resources to make it easier for you to sniff out a scammer before they hit you in the wallet.
4. Resources in the Business Center. Sometimes you need the whys and wherefores. Other times you want — in the words of “Dragnet’s” Joe Friday — just the facts, ma’am. In the BCP Business Center, the choice is yours. The center column of most pages is devoted to nuts-and-bolts staff compliance brochures on topics like the Telemarketing Sales Rule, COPPA, or CAN-SPAM. Looking to dive deeper? Case Highlights puts close to a decade of law enforcement actions (litigated cases and settlements) at your fingertips. Want the most recent first or prefer them in alphabetical order? It’s your call. Laws, Rules, and Guides links you to the statutes and regulations in question. Reports and Workshops takes you to FTC events and publications that could affect your business. And Compliance Documents includes warnings, closing letters, and other deep cuts with insights into FTC enforcement.