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Surviving an FTC Deposition: Preparation and Tips

Surviving an FTC Deposition: Preparation and Tips

Getting called in for an FTC (Federal Trade Commission) deposition can be intimidating. But with the right preparation and mindset, you can get through it. This article will give you some tips on how to survive an FTC deposition.

What to Expect

An FTC deposition is part of an investigation by the FTC into potentially unfair or deceptive business practices. The FTC attorney will ask you questions under oath about your company’s business activities, policies, and documents.

The deposition will be recorded by a court reporter. You have to answer all questions truthfully under penalty of perjury. The transcript can be used as evidence in any enforcement action the FTC decides to bring.

So it’s important to take an FTC deposition seriously. But don’t panic! Going in with a calm, cooperative attitude and being prepared can help you get through it.

Know the Investigation Details

Before the deposition, get as much information as you can about the FTC investigation from your attorney. Understand exactly what the FTC is looking into with your company.

This allows you to better prepare for the types of questions you’ll be asked. It prevents surprises and lets you give more helpful responses.

Tell the Truth

This one is obvious but critical. Answer every question completely and honestly. Don’t speculate or guess. If you don’t know or don’t remember, just say so.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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Lying or evading questions can lead to charges of perjury or obstruction of justice. It’s always better to admit you don’t know something than to risk giving false testimony.

Listen Carefully to Questions

Make sure you understand each question before answering. Don’t jump to respond before thinking it through. If you need clarification, ask for it.

Pay attention to whether the question asks for facts or your opinion. Stick to factual responses unless specifically asked for your views.

Review Company Policies

Brush up on all relevant company policies and procedures before the deposition. Be prepared to explain and discuss them in detail.

Having them fresh in your mind helps you give clear, confident answers about your company’s practices.

Avoid Speculation

Stick to facts you know firsthand in your responses. Don’t speculate or guess at things you aren’t directly knowledgeable about.

If asked for your opinion on company actions, policies, or motives, make clear you are just stating your personal views, not facts.

Bring Documents

Make sure you have access during the deposition to any company documents you may need to refer to. Highlight or tab key sections to quickly find information.

Referring to the actual documents creates more authoritative, factual answers. But make sure you’re familiar with the contents first.

Meet with Your Attorney

Discuss the case and potential questions with your attorney before the deposition. Go over company records together.

Ask your attorney to do a mock Q&A to practice giving simple, truthful responses. Knowing what to expect will make you more confident.

Dress Professionally

You may be on video, so dress appropriately. For men, wear a suit and tie. For women, a business suit or dress.

Looking put together and professional reflects well on both you and your company. It also puts you in the right mindset.

Arrive Early

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the deposition’s scheduled start time. Use the time to gather your thoughts and get settled in.

Rushing in at the last minute can throw you off and make you feel disorganized. Being early prevents this.

What You Can Refuse to Answer

While you must answer all relevant questions truthfully, your attorney can instruct you not to answer questions under certain circumstances, such as:

  • Questions seeking privileged trade secrets or confidential information.
  • Questions outside the stated scope of the FTC investigation.
  • Questions that improperly seek attorney-client privileged communications.
  • Questions asked in bad faith, just to harass you.

Take Breaks if Needed

Depositions can last several hours. If you need a short break to collect yourself, get a drink of water, or consult your attorney, just ask.

Reasonable break requests are usually allowed. But don’t abuse this to stall or avoid questions.

Correct Your Answers if Needed

If you realize after the fact that you gave an incorrect or incomplete answer, let your attorney know. You can submit an errata sheet later to amend your response.

It’s much better to correct the record than leave a wrong answer standing. But don’t change responses just because you now think of a “better” answer. Only correct actual mistakes.

Get Representation

Don’t go it alone. Have experienced legal counsel present to object to inappropriate questions and represent your interests.

Refusing to let your attorney attend can be used against you and needlessly exposes you to legal risk.

Remain Calm

No matter how adversarial the questioning feels, keep your cool. Don’t argue or get defensive. Stay focused on giving truthful, factual answers.

Arguing or evading questions suggests you have something to hide. It also risks leading you into dangerous territory.

Be Cautious

Think carefully before each response. Don’t volunteer information or speculate. Answer only what is asked, no more.

Anything you say can and will be used against you and your company. Don’t open new doors for the FTC to investigate.

Review Your Testimony

Get a copy of the deposition transcript after the fact and review it closely with your attorney. Make sure your answers were clear and accurate.

This is your chance to correct any mistakes and prepare explanations for anything that might seem questionable out of context.

Preparing mentally and physically for an FTC deposition can make the difference between a calm, successful experience versus an adversarial, risky one. Use these tips to be ready for the FTC’s questions, know your rights, and present yourself professionally. With the right mindset and support, you can get through it smoothly.

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