Federal and state antitrust laws were enacted to promote competition by making certain anti-competitive activity illegal. When a company abuses its monopoly power or engages in conduct that prevents competition or restrains market trade to maintain their advantages a it may constitute a violation Types of violations include: horizontal price-fixing when two or more competitors agree on a price. Another example is vertical price-fixing when sellers and buyers agree at what price products should be resold. It can include market allocation where two competitors agree not to compete in a particular area or product and predatory pricing where a company lowers prices to below their cost to drive a competitor out of business. Tying is the term that refers to requiring a buyer to purchase something that he or she does not want in order to buy something that he or she does want.
The federal antitrust laws generally limit damages to businesses or individuals who purchased goods or services directly from the person or company that violates the antitrust laws. Since most products and services are sold through distributors, wholesalers, or retailers, most claims under the federal antitrust laws are brought by businesses, not consumers or other end-users. Many state antitrust laws, however, allow consumers and other end-users to recover damages resulting from anticompetitive conduct, even if they did not purchase goods or services directly from the person or company that violates the antitrust laws.
If you believe you have been injured as a result of anti-competitive behavior, call Chuck Gabriel for a free consultation to determine what action to take.