The Consumer Protection and Recovery Act

Congressional Testimony by Howard Beales: Returning Money to Defrauded Consumers
April 28, 2021

Download this Testimony (PDF)

View this Congressional Hearing (YouTube)

An article co-authored by Howard Beales, professor emeritus of strategic management and public policy at the George Washington University School of Business and senior scholar at the GW Regulatory Studies Center, was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in a ruling issued earlier this month limiting the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to recover monetary relief for consumers defrauded by companies that use deceptive practices. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court found that the FTC’s authority under a provision known as Section 13(b) was limited to seeking injunctions to stop illegal activity but did not allow the agencies to seek monetary remedies like restitution.

Dr. Beales’ 2013 research article analyzing the issue of whether the FTC was overstepping its authority by using Section 13(b) to seek monetary redress was cited in the court’s opinion. Dr. Beales' testimony urged Congress to explicitly authorize the FTC to pursue monetary damages in cases involving dishonest or fraudulent conduct under Section 13(b).   

The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a legislative hearing on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at 1 p.m. via Cisco Webex. The hearing was entitled, "The Consumer Protection and Recovery Act: Returning Money to Defrauded Consumers." This hearing was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Documents from the hearing:

Related legislation:


  • Hon. Rebecca K. Slaughter -- Acting Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission -- Testimony (PDF)
  • Anna Laitin -- Director of Financial Fairness and Legislative Strategy, Consumer Reports -- Testimony (PDF)
  • Ted Mermin -- Executive Director, Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice - Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley School of Law -- Testimony (PDF)
  • Dr. J. Howard Beales, III -- Professor Emeritus of Strategic Management and Public Policy, George Washington University - Senior Scholar, GW Regulatory Studies Center -- Testimony (PDF)