The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is set to unveil its new definition of ecommerce, the first time the agency has laid out the basics for a consumer.
The Federal Trade Commision’s definition of “commerce” is likely to help guide the agency’s rulemaking process as it moves through the implementation of a controversial rule known as the “right to be forgotten.”
“Ecommerce is a market of goods and services that provide consumers with an ability to buy and sell their goods online,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a press release on Thursday.
“It includes goods and products that are sold online, but it also includes online sales that are performed online, such as auctions, where a seller offers a product in exchange for a payment.”
The FTC definition of commerce was developed by the agency under the guidance of Leibtz, and will be used to guide its rulemaking, which could include the development of regulations and other requirements to help ensure consumers are able to use ecommerce to make purchases online.
The FTC is already considering how to apply this new definition to online payment companies such as PayPal and Square.
The new definition is intended to make sure all online payment platforms comply with the FTC’s consumer protection obligations, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which prohibits predatory practices.
The agency also is reviewing the proposed definition for online payment providers to make certain it will be consistent with the law.
In the meantime, consumers can use their online accounts to make payments and then cancel them.
The new definition will apply to all online commerce and purchases in the U.S. and worldwide.
Consumers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Canada, and other countries will be exempt from the new definition.
“The rule will help make online commerce safer, fairer, more efficient, and more affordable for consumers,” FTC Director Richard Cordray said in the press release.
“Our goal is to ensure that people across the country can make informed decisions about how to buy, sell, and use their goods and goods services online.”
The proposed definition will go into effect in July 2020, which is two months after the end of the FTC rulemaking period.
The definition will also be subject to further review and refinement as the FTC continues to develop and update its rule.