The Federal Trade Commission seeks input from the public about what products are vulnerable to y2k. Well, the public hasn't a clue -- any more than the regulators do. Any regulator who understood the scope of the problem would have his Washington home up for sale and his resume out to 200 rural counties.
The FTC regulates businesses. If it gets cooperation -- highly unlikely -- it will have a mountain of paperwork to go through. But the public surely isn't concerned, and not many manufacturers know just how vulnerable they are.
Inquiring Commisioners want to know: "The agency also wants to learn how various segments of the consumer financial services industry, including finance companies, consumer credit reporting agencies and other businesses, will be affected." So do we all.
But that's not all: "In addition, the notice seeks comment on the public’s interest in the Commission holding workshops on Y2K issues." Now, here's a project a good bureaucrat can sink his teeth into: workshops. Workshops will solve the y2k problem between the deadline for responding and January 1, 2000.
And after each worksop, we'll break off into buzz groups. We'll have our y2k consciousness raised.
The deadline for replying is June 22, not that it matters.
The announcement appeared in the FEDERAL REGISTER (May 6).
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FTC Seeks Input About Year 2000 Problem and its Impact on Consumers . . .
. . . the Federal Trade Commission today published a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on the scope of the potential problem. Estimates of the costs for industry and government to fix Year 2000 problems vary widely. For example, the Federal Reserve recently said it believes industry will spend $50 billion or more to fix its computer systems.
In its notice, the Commission specifically seeks comment on what types of computer software and electronic products are likely to experience Y2K problems, as well as what steps have been taken or will be taken by software publishers, electronics manufacturers, and others to notify consumers of any anticipated Y2K problems and how to remedy such problems. The agency also wants to learn how various segments of the consumer financial services industry, including finance companies, consumer credit reporting agencies and other businesses, will be affected. In addition, the notice seeks comment on the public’s interest in the Commission holding workshops on Y2K issues.
"To be helpful to consumers in the future, we need to focus on the potential problem, the solutions that industries and government agencies are contemplating, and the impact on consumers," Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said. "We’ll be sharing our findings with industry and consumers. Ideally, the comments will lead to discussions of solutions that will benefit everyone. For example, if hardware or software solutions are impractical for some consumer products, will companies offer refunds, rebates, or replacements? We are seeking creative approaches for these new challenges."
The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register notice was 5-0. The deadline for comments is June 22, 1998.
Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202- 382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 202-326-2502. Comments should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Comments also may be sent via e-mail and should be addressed to
(no period). To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.