What are Antitrust Laws?
Antitrust litigation was created to prevent monopolies from taking control of entire industries, limiting consumer options, and putting more wealth in fewer entities’ hands.
Antitrust laws seek to break down monopolies and unfair business practices to foster equal business growth and success opportunities.
An example of our experience in Antitrust litigation is our work for health care providers such as hospitals, doctors and health centers in litigation against Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In 2013, a group of healthcare providers and policyholders filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield, alleging that the national insurance company violated antitrust laws by dividing its service areas.
The case involves 36 Blue Cross plans, and the main issue is whether the plans’ agreement to provide service based on geography is legal.
Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
Consumer protection violations such as unfair business practices can be found in various industries and breach consumer trust. These practices may include fraud, misrepresentation, or unjustifiable terms.
Unfair business practices protect consumers by defining unacceptable actions and providing remedies such as restitution or injunctions. In some cases, punitive damages or business closure may be ordered. Some jurisdictions require evidence of financial harm to pursue a claim.
Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices are unfair actions toward consumers, such as false advertising or deceptive practices. The Federal Trade Commission and state laws regulate and allow for lawsuits against such practices.
Unfair competition involves deceptive business practices and product misrepresentation that cause economic hardship. Despite federal laws protecting against unfair competition, it remains a common issue in antitrust disputes.
Practices that may fall under unfair competition laws include:
- Trademark infringement
- False advertising
- Using similar packaging or a similar name to confuse customers into thinking they are buying a different product
- Misstating ingredients or appropriate product use
- Badmouthing the quality of the competitor’s product
- Selling products by using bait-and-switch techniques
Bait and Switch
“Bait and switch” is when a retailer advertises a product or deal but doesn’t deliver when the customer visits.
Retailers sometimes entice customers with tempting offers, then upsell them to more expensive products in-store when they are more inclined to compromise and buy an alternative to what was advertised.
While commonly associated with the retail sales industry, bait-and-switch tactics can also be found in other instances, such as:
- Employers who deceive job seekers by advertising job openings with a misleading impression of duties, working conditions, or compensation.
- Hotels that advertise lower rates but add hidden fees when you check in.
- Phone companies that offer introductory pricing for their services, only to raise the prices dramatically after a certain period.
- Contractors who add on extra fees on top of their service estimate.
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