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FTC Considers Revising Antitrust Ad Guides

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Trade Commission is seeking comments about whether it should keep guides that help businesses comply with federal antitrust laws related to competing advertisers.

The FTC developed its "Guides for Advertising Allowances and Other Merchandising Payments and Services" in response to the Supreme Court's 1968 ruling in Fred Meyer Inc. v. FTC. They are referred to as "Fred Meyer Guides."

The guides are intended to help businesses comply with sections of the Clayton Antitrust Act, which was amended by the Robinson-Patman Act.

The sections generally require sellers to make advertising and promotional allowances or services available to competing customers on equal terms.

The 15-section guides are administrative interpretations, and do not have legal force. They were most recently amended in 1990.

The FCC seeks comment about whether there have been changes in case law not reflected in the guides, and if they should be revised to account for changes in commerce since 1990.

Among other things, the FCC also requested comments about the benefits and costs the guides have had for businesses that grant and receive promotional allowances, and how they have affected consumers.

The FCC will consider comments received before Jan. 29.

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