How to Avoid Antitrust, Rigging Prices, Fixing Prices and Conspiracy Charges
Being charged with antitrust violations is a very serious situation in federal court. The conversations that can get you in trouble are not always so obvious. Business owners and employees frequently come in contact with competitors and talk about their industries.
There are thousands of conventions yearly, and whether it is at a convention or anywhere else communicating with competitors is inevitable. There is nothing innately wrong with two competitors talking or working together. The law allows for many different forms of collaboration, but the antitrust laws do not allow competitors to fix prices.
The culture of your company may make it seem normal to have these conversations. Because your boss and co-workers engaged in that behavior, does not excuse your action and is not a defense against an antitrust conspiracy in federal court.
8 tips to avoid running afoul of antitrust violations:
1. Don’t discuss dividing customers with your competitors
2. Don’t discuss contract bid terms with competitors
3. Don’t discuss splitting territory with competitors
4. Don’t Join competitors in boycotting another competitor or supplier
5. Don't require a customer to buy exclusively from your company.
6. Don't require a customer to buy one product to obtain another
7. Don’t attempt to control the customer’s resale price
8. Don't restrict the resale activity of a customer or attempt to control the customer's resale price.
You may find yourself in a meeting or situation where these things
are being discussed. If you do find yourself in that situation, don’t engaged in the conversation, leave right away, and protest. Failure to do so can lead to fines and possibly jail. If you have any doubts, speak to an attorney right away.