FTC Issues Final Amendments to Amplifier Rule to Make Testing Methods More Useful to Consumers

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The Federal Trade Commission has issued final amendments to its Amplifier Rule to help consumers make direct comparisons of home entertainment amplifiers.

The Amplifier Rule regulates power output related claims for home entertainment amplifiers so consumers can more easily compare products before purchasing. It was enacted by the FTC in 1974 in response to amplifier advertisements that relied on widely disparate and, at times, deceptive testing methods, leaving consumers without a way to reliably shop for amplifiers. The rule was last reviewed in 2008.

In December 2020, the FTC issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments regarding public support for the rule and proposed changes or modifications the FTC should consider as part of its routine regulatory review. After evaluating the comments received, in July 2022, the Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comments on standardizing certain test conditions for measuring amplifier power output and also on the parameters of consumers’ normal use of multichannel home theater amplifiers. Finally, in July 2023, the agency issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to the rule for comment and consideration used to develop the final rule announced today.

After evaluating the comments received, the FTC has now approved a Federal Register notice announcing a final rule adopting standard test conditions and other improvements related to the power output claims for amplifiers used in home entertainment products. Aside from a minor clarification, the final rule adopts the text of the 2023 SNPRM.

The final rule requires uniform test conditions for amplifiers if sellers make certain claims about power output; improves differentiation between power output disclosures that comply with the rule’s test conditions and those that do not; and modernizes and clarifies language in the rule related to these modifications.

The final rule also formalizes the FTC’s prior guidance on how the rule should be applied to multichannel amplifiers. A more-detailed discussion of these changes can be found in the text of the Federal Register notice, where it is called the Rule Relating to Power Output Claims for Amplifiers Utilized in Home Entertainment Products.

The Commission vote approving publication of the final rule was 5-0. It will be published in the Federal Register shortly.

The lead FTC staff member on this matter is Hong Park, an attorney in the FTC’s Enforcement Division.

Official news published at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/06/ftc-issues-final-amendments-amplifier-rule-make-testing-methods-more-useful-consumers

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