The Federal Trade Commission says in 2022 it returned more than $392 million in court-awarded payouts to consumers.
These funds came mostly from cases it won or settled against companies that were breaking the law.
The FTC says one of its main goals when it sues or settles with a company, beyond putting a stop to illegal activity, is to get refunds for consumers who lost money.
In 2022, more than 1.9 million people received payments from an FTC disbursement.
In one major case this year, the FTC sent more than $149 million back to consumers who had bought into a pyramid scheme run by AdvoCare, which claimed people could make money distributing its health and wellness products.
Any money left over after consumers get paid is sent to the U.S. Treasury. In 2022, the FTC sent nearly $11 million dollars to federal coffers.
The agency says since 2018, it has sent more than $12 billion back to consumers.
But it warns that payments to consumers are likely to taper off in the coming years, thanks to a Supreme Court case that stopped the practice going forward.
In 2021, the Supreme Court held that the FTC doesn’t have the authority to seek monetary awards from companies the way it has been.
The FTC says cases it’s won since then haven’t included court-ordered refunds.
More than 90% of the payouts in 2022 came from cases the FTC finished in 2021, and any more payments coming are expected to be from cases that started before the Supreme Court made its ruling.