The Federal Trade Commission had a busy year in 2016, surveying consumers about buying and financing car purchases, issuing a report aimed at helping businesses harness the power of Big Data without discriminating and also taking a hard look at the FinTech market and its implications for consumers.
In its annual report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showcasing how the FTC enforced the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the FTC said that, during 2016, its second Federal Register Notice (FRN) on a proposed survey of consumers was issued with the goal of gaining insight into their experiences when purchasing a car and financing it at dealerships. The FTC is aiming to gauge how much consumers understand about buying and financing a car. “The proposed consumer survey, which will include consumer interviews and receipt of consumers’ purchase and finance documents, is designed to assist the FTC by providing useful insights into consumer understanding of the automobile purchasing and financing process at dealerships. The FTC received 17 comments in response to that notice that were addressed in the FRN. The FRN also invited further comments concerning the accuracy of burden estimates on surveyed consumers and ways to minimize the information collection burden,” wrote the FTC.
During last year, the FTC also released a report that outlined a series of questions for businesses to mull to ensure they are using Big Data analytics and to ensure they aren’t engaging in any actions with the analysis that would be exclusionary and/or discriminatory. The FTC said the report looked specifically at Big Data at the end of its lifecycle and how it was used and analyzed once it was collected.
As for the FinTech market, the FTC said that, in 2016, it started a series of forums to look at the FinTech market and the implications for consumers. The first of the forums was held in June and looked at marketplace lending. “The forum examined a range of marketplace lending models, their potential benefits to consumers, possible consumer protection concerns and the applicability of consumer protection laws to market participants, including the ECOA and FTC Act,” the FTC said.