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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Seeking an Extension for Responding to an FTC Civil Investigative Demand

By Spodek Law Group | January 24, 2024
(Last Updated On: January 24, 2024)

Seeking an Extension for Responding to an FTC Civil Investigative Demand

Getting hit with a civil investigative demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission can be intimidating. The requests for information seem endless, the deadlines tight. Your first instinct might be to panic. Take a breath. You have options, including requesting an extension. Here’s what to know.

What is a CID?

A CID is basically a fancy subpoena. The FTC issues them when it wants to poke around a company or industry to determine if consumer protection laws are being violated. Some common reasons include:

  • False or misleading advertising
  • Data security lapses
  • Violations of Do Not Call registry

CIDs require you to provide loads of information – documents, data, testimony from employees. You have to jump through all their hoops or face penalties down the line.

Why Would You Need an Extension?

Turning over everything the FTC wants can take months. Their initial deadlines are usually unrealistic. Reasons you might need more time include:

  • Sheer volume – If they’ve asked for 5 years of records across multiple departments, you’ll need time to pull it all together.
  • Technical hangups – Maybe some data exists only on old servers or backup tapes. IT might need weeks to access and format it for production.
  • Logistical issues – If employees key to responding are traveling or otherwise unavailable, pushing back deadlines might be necessary.
  • Outside help needed – You might want to hire a lawyer to review responses. Allow time to find one familiar with CID nuances.

Seeking an extension is perfectly legit. The FTC routinely grants them if the reasons are valid.

How Do You Request an Extension?

Start by contacting the FTC attorney listed on the CID. Explain precisely why you need more time and how much additional time you need.If the FTC attorney denies the request or doesn’t respond promptly, don’t panic yet. You can still petition the Commission directly.Draft a letter making your case for an extension. Keep it polite and professional. Emphasize any technical barriers or volume of requested data. Offer specific stats if possible – “You requested 9 years of records spanning 8 departments and over 20 employees.”Note logistical issues like key personnel being unavailable. If hiring outside help, mention that reviews are still pending.Propose an alternative timeline that is reasonable yet still urgent. The FTC understands investigations drag on if deadlines are pushed too far out. Offering an aggressive yet attainable revised schedule shows good faith.

How Long of an Extension Can You Get?

There’s no magic number, but extensions over a couple months raise eyebrows. The FTC works on tight timelines, so they resist open-ended delays.If you need more than 2-3 months, break down the timeline. Explain precisely what will happen in each phase. This shows you have a solid handle on responding efficiently.

What’s the Downside of Extensions?

Other than still having the CID hanging over your head? Delays can frustrate FTC attorneys. They don’t like investigations lingering.If you squander the extra time you bought, expect little sympathy for further extensions. Make sure you have the people and resources to gather everything by the new deadline.

When Would an Extension Request Be Denied?

The FTC denies extensions when it suspects delays are because:

  • You’re stalling – If you have a history of resisting cooperation or slow-walking document production, more delays may heighten suspicions.
  • You’re destroying documents – If the FTC hears whispers about shredding records, they’ll refuse extensions that allow more time for that.
  • You’re cooking the books – Similarly, if they suspect records are being doctored or manipulated to hide anything, no extensions.

The lesson is that requesting extensions is fine to allow reasonable time to comply fully. But attempts to evade or hinder the investigation won’t fly.

What Happens if You Miss the Extended Deadline?

Missed deadlines, even extended ones, quickly ratchet up penalties. Next steps include:

Subpoenas – These ramp up the legal muscle behind the demands. Now you must comply or face contempt charges.

Lawsuits – If you still resist cooperating, the FTC will sue to force compliance. Then you’re paying legal fees on top of compliance costs.

Fines – Statutory fines apply for every day you miss deadlines. These add up quickly to staggering sums.

Injunctions – Courts might order you to stop business activities until you comply fully. Imagine shutting down for months awaiting records.

Criminal charges – If the FTC believes you actively destroyed documents or lied, that’s obstruction of justice. Now you have criminal prosecution to deal with too.As you can see, blown deadlines, even extended ones, unleash an avalanche of pain. Avoid this at all costs.

Tips for Seeking FTC Deadline Extensions

To boost your odds of getting more time and avoiding draconian penalties:

🔹 Communicate proactively – Don’t wait till the last minute to address delays. Keep the FTC updated on any issues as soon as they surface.

🔹 Suggest incremental extensions – Saying you need a blanket 6 more months likely won’t fly. Offer a series of smaller extensions as needed.

🔹 Use specifics – Vague extension requests sound like stalling. Precisely detail obstacles and how much time is needed to address each.

🔹 Have a plan – Outline what you will accomplish by each new deadline. This shows you are working diligently towards full compliance.The FTC understands fulfilling CID requests takes time. They want to move cases along too. Reasonable deadline extension requests account for reality while demonstrating cooperation. With some finesse and planning, you can get the extra time needed without aggravating the FTC.



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