If you or your business is subject to an allegation or investigation from the FTC, it can be a very stressful and worrying time. Many things go through your mind, and you are probably trying to carry on as usual and brave the storm. It can, however, be challenging to try and handle an FTC probe of the allegation if you don’t have a good team of specialists behind you.
Why An Investigation Or Allegation Has Been Opened
Several things need to happen for the FTC to open an investigation. The FTC identifies targets of inquiry by using data that has been obtained from the Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN). From this network, they can begin to compile data and start to look at things such as financial fraud scams. The CSN database contains consumer complaints which cover everything from phone calls to complaints submitted on the FTC website. One must also note that complaints to the Better Business Bureau are also included within this database. The FTC will investigate a wide range of scams, including but not limited to utility and energy scams and businesses that violate the law.
Extensive laws surrounding what can be investigated at any one time are in place, and unless you are a legally trained professional, you will not have the awareness or knowledge of what can be done and where. Not knowing the law when it comes to an FTC investigation can be detrimental to your case should you be trying to tackle things yourself. Investigations may involve the use of witnesses and hearings. These are things you will not have experience in and are all areas that you must address promptly and professionally.
Communication Is Key
You can communicate with the FTC during an investigation, but you must be aware of how you can communicate and when. For example, in the case of less formal communications like emails or phone calls, these happen between counsel and the FTC gain further information about any investigation or allegation being made, and then there are more formal routes which could be sworn responses or subpoena. If you do not follow the correct process, you could be putting yourself at risk of jeopardizing or interfering with an ongoing investigation which could land you in hot water.
Reputation Is At Stake
If you do not correctly defend any allegations against you or your business, then your reputation could potentially be at risk. It is very hard to come back from majorly negative press, so to protect yourself and your business interests, you need to get professionals on board who will help you handle any investigation in a professional and timely manner minimizing damage and any potential losses.
Preservation And Coalition Of Documents
You need to present all of the requested documents and in a prompt fashion too. You must have been keeping accurate records, which will need to be submitted to the FTC as and when they require them. You must ensure that you are responsible and are keeping your personal information safe at all times. It can be stressful to collate all of your documents, especially if you have a short timescale to do it in, and perhaps if you haven’t got all of the required documentation available to hand.
The Time Is Of The Essence
Timely responses are needed to ensure the investigation is handled as swiftly as possible. You will be unable to provide all of the information you need without seeking assistance, so timing is critical. Not responding to the FTC by set deadlines can result in penalties or fines, which can be avoidable if you seek professional assistance
Physical And Emotional Affect
An allegation or investigation of any kind can take its toll on you, your friends, family, and business. It is something serious that can affect you very quickly if you are not careful. When handling things concerning an ongoing investigation or allegation, it is always wise to utilize the support network that you have around you. From family to friends, a listening and caring set of ears can help ease a situation that may be totally out of your control.
Handling Allegations And Investigations: The Right Way To Do It
The Professional Experience Matters
You need experience in handling cases, and this is a must. How do you know what you can counteract with and what you need to do and present without experience legally? Not having experience can put you onto a slippery slide that leads to even more significant problems and potential fines. Ideally, you would enlist the advice and guidance of somebody who has worked closely within the FTC or has worked on several investigations before yours. To get the outcome you desire, you need to find and hire people with adequate experience. It cannot be stressed enough. Your business, lifestyle, reputation, and so much more are hanging on the line, and you need help as soon as possible.
You Need The Right People
FTC Departments are extensive, and as such, they have the power to target whoever they want and whenever they want, so it is important that you have the right people on board too. Having legally trained professionals by your side will ensure that you can get your point across and that you can fight any investigation or allegation that has been put your way. Do not underestimate how important legally trained and experienced lawyers are and just how much they will assist you.
As you can see, it is vitally important that you start dealing with an allegation or investigation as soon as you can and that you don’t bury your head in the sand. Avoiding dealing with the FTC will not make the problem go away. It could potentially make it worse as this avoidance can quickly lead to more trouble and stress than if you would have just previously dealt with it. So don’t delay acting any longer and contact lawyers who have experience and knowledge handling investigations, claims, and allegations.