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Antitrust (Price Fixing)

Historically, antitrust laws exist to protect economic freedom by promoting competition in the marketplace. Violations occur when a company tries to create a monopoly, or several companies collaborate to control pricing. Antitrust laws apply to virtually every sector of industry, including manufacturing, transportation, distribution and marketing. Antitrust laws enforce the competitive process by prohibiting practices such as price fixing, corporate mergers that reduct competition, rigging bids, and companies that seek monopolies.

Antitrust lawyers can resolve issues such as alleged price fixing, group boycotts, predatory pricing, illegal standard setting, licensing arrangements, patent pools, anti-competitive features and monopolies. Antitrust lawsuits are closely related to intellectual property rights, especially during mergers or acquisitions.

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Price fixing occurs when competing sellers agree on what prices to charge - i.e. agreeing to not sell below a certain price. Bid rigging happens when firms agree to bid such that a designated firm submits the winning bid. Customer allocation involves arrangements between competitors to split up customers, such as by geographic area, to reduce to eliminate competition.

Companies violating antitrust laws are subject to criminal suits that can lead to jail time and large fines. Or, a civil action can be filed asking the court to compensate for past violations, and forbidding further violations.

Individual violators can be fined up to $1 million and sentenced up to 10 years prison, and corporations can be fined up to $100 million for each offense.

antitrustPrice fixing, bid rigging and customer allocation cause great harm to consumers and taxpayers by causing them to pay more for products and services, and by depriving them of the benefits of competition. Antitrust laws can save consumers billions of dollars in illegal overcharges by making sure people benefit from competitive pricing for the goods and services they purchase.

Cases of antitrust behavior have been tried against the soft drink, vitamin, trash hauling, road building, electrical contracting, fax paper, explosives, plumbing supplies, doors, carpet, bread and software industries. Private individuals who claim damages, can bring a suit against another individual, a corporation, or corporations - a very effective way to deter antitrust criminal activity.

Because price fixing, bid rigging and customer allocation are all secret behaviors, the antitrust agencies rely heavily on complaints received by consumers, or people in business.

Price Fixing Laws

There are three major federal antitrust laws: the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The Sherman Act (1890) outlaws all contracts, combinations and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade, including fixing prices, rigging bids and allocating customers. The Sherman Act also makes it a crime to monopolize any part of interstate commerce. A monopoly occurs when one firm gains control of a market sector by supressing competition using illegal conduct.

The Clayton Act (1914) prohibits mergers or acquisitions that are likely to lessen competition and thereby increase prices to consumers. All persons considering a merger or acquisition above a certain size must notify the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits unfair methods of competition in interstate commerce.

Both the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act carry no criminal penalties, and are tried as civil cases.


Antitrust Price Fixing Legal Help

If you suspect an individual, a company or companies of price fixing or trying to create a monopoly, please click the link below to submit your claim to a lawyer for a free evaluation.
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Antitrust News: Federal Investigators Launch Probe of the Agriculture Industry
Antitrust News: Federal Investigators Launch Probe of the Agriculture Industry Washington, DC To prevent the occurrence of financial crimes in the nation's farmlands, federal regulators have announced plans to hold hearings examining the agriculture industry's adherence to antitrust laws [READ MORE]

Maine Lobster Dealers May Face Price Fixing Class Action Lawsuit
Maine Lobster Dealers May Face Price Fixing Class Action Lawsuit Portland, ME Maine's Attorney General has announced an investigation into the Pine Tree State's lobster industry, sparking a potential price fixing class action lawsuit from local fisherman [READ MORE]





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Alabama
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My credit card payment is due the 14th of each month. I sent my pay off, in the form of a money order. They told me I would be charged a late fee because it took 4 to 5 days to process. How is that possible? They got my payment on time. It is not fair.

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Iowa
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A month ago I decided to upgrade my cable to HD. I was told by a representative of Mediacom that my house needed to be rewired for HDTV. In reality it's really plugging in three wires into six holes, from the back of the T.V. to the back of the cable box. At the ripe price of $41.99. I was just informed that is charged to every bill no matter who it is. "If they were honest with me I would have drove down and got the box myself and plugged in the wires." I was told that "That is not an option." There was absolutly NO rewiring of anykind. It's even on my bill as "installation One Outlet Unwired Home".

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