The Basics of Antitrust Law
There is an inherent conflict between consumers and businesses in the marketplace. Consumers want the best deal possible. Businesses want to make the most profit possible. This tug-of-war match between the two sides is partly responsible for the prices we see.
Other factors include supply and demand, and competition. But what happens when one of the factors is missing and the equilibrium is disturbed? When businesses don’t have any competition in their market, it usually leads to price gouging. Fortunately, antitrust laws exist to protect consumers from this activity. Find out how your business can avoid violating antitrust statutes in Florida.
A Brief Explanation of Antitrust
Both the federal and state government have antitrust statutes. These laws take away the incentive for businesses to engage in unfair acquisitions or mergers. When a firm violates these laws, it can subject itself to fines and other punitive actions.
In Florida, antitrust laws are codified in the Florida Antitrust Act of 1980. This code section has laws that mirror parts of the federal Sherman Act. Some of the activity covered by antitrust laws may also be prosecuted under other statutes. For example, illegal business activity can be addressed by the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The Elements of an Offense
The majority of actions against businesses are under section one of the Sherman Act. To establish a violation, a consumer must prove three elements. First, that there was an agreement between two or more firms. Next, that the agreement resulted in an unreasonable trade restraint. The last element is that this activity has an effect on interstate commerce. Speak to a business attorney Sarasota for further details.
There are a few other basic things to know about antitrust law. First, there is one year statute of limitation for filing a claim. The state attorney general may also file a separate claim against the offending business. If your business is dealing with antitrust issues, contact a business attorney Sarasota as soon as possible.