Agreements Among Competitors

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This post is the first of what will be a continuing series of short articles designed to inform business owners of tools that may have been previously unknown to the business owner.  We are applying the lablel of “tools” to everything that may be of use to the business owner:  individuals, groups, associations, government agencies, reference to laws, complaint sites, etc.  There will also be short articles intended to stimulate your thought processes and cause you to questions things you see and things you hear; even the things you see printed here.

A new page has been created for you to use as a quick reference to the tools we write about here in the posts.  The name of the new page is “The Underdog Toolbox“.

As a business owner, you have a considerable investment in your future.  In fact, your future and the future of those you care for, is probably greatly dependent on how well you are able to compete in the marketplace.  Facing unfair competition or questionable business practices of others only makes your efforts that much more difficult.

If you have ever questioned the practices of companies you may be dealing with, or considering dealing with, you may want to learn a little about the antitrust laws of the United States.  Antitrust complains are investigated by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission” and the following is taken verbatim from their web site which you will find listed in The Underdog Toolbox.

What Is Antitrust?

The word “antitrust” dates from the late 1800’s when powerful companies dominated industries, working together as “trusts” to stifle competition.  Thus, laws aimed at protecting competition have long been labeled “antitrust.”  Fast forward to the 21st century: you hear “antitrust” in news stories about competitors merging or companies conspiring to reduce competition.  The FTC enforces antitrust laws by challenging business practices that could hurt consumers by resulting in higher prices, lower quality, or fewer goods or services.

We monitor business practices, review potential mergers, and challenge them when appropriate to ensure that the market works according to consumer preferences, no illegal practices.  What kinds of business practices interest the Bureau of Competition?  In short, the very practices that affect consumers the most:  company mergers, agreements among competitors, restrictive agreements between manufacturers and product dealers, and monopolies.  The FTC reviews these and other practices, looking at the likely effects on sonsumers and competition:  Would they lead to higher prices, inferior service, or fewer hoices for consumers?  Would they make it more difficult for other companies to enter the market?

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