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An act or practice is unfair under Section 5 of the FTC Act if

the act or practice causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers which is not reasonably avoidable by consumers themselves and not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.[1]


The Commission may consider established public policies as evidence to be considered with all other evidence, though not as a primary basis for a determination of unfairness.[2]

The Commission has a "longstanding position that the statutory prohibition against 'unfair or deceptive acts or practices' includes practices that victimize businesspersons as well as those who purchase products for their own personal or household use," given that businesses "clearly do consume goods and services that may be marketed by means of deception and unfairness."[3]


  1. 15 U.S.C. §45(n).
  2. Id.
  3. Brief of Federal Trade Commission as Amicus Curiae at 3-4, 8-9, Vermont v. International Collection Serv., Inc., 156 Vt. 540, 594 A.2d 426 (Vt. 1991)(full-text) (citing cases); see also, e.g., 16 C.F.R. § 436.1 (FTC rule protecting franchisees); United States Retail Credit Ass’n v. Federal Trade Comm'n, 300 F.2d 212 (4th Cir. 1962)(full-text) (deception involving business clients); United States Ass’n of Credit Bureaus, Inc. v. Federal Trade Comm'n, 299 F.2d 220 (4th Cir. 1962)(full-text) (same).