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Antitrust Laws

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feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Antitrust laws are complicated, but getting caught up in them is easy.

When you Google ‘hair loss treatments’, you’ll come up with over 21 million hits in a third of a second, including pills, wigs, plugs, and so-called “natural” cures like vinegar rubs and disturbingly, goose droppings, that can be applied the scalp. Uh. Ew?! And yet, it’s not the so-called cure that has the Federal Trade Commission in a lather.

Rather, the FTC charged Bosley, the country’s biggest manager of medical and surgical hair restoration products, with giving away information to Hair Club, one of its competitors. Psssst. We sell toupees. You too?

What’s illegal about that and why should you care if you still have luxurious locks?

In the US, laws favor competition because as product manufacturers compete with each other, prices drop and consumers win. So when competitors conspire with each other to set prices, it prevents competition and is a violation of antitrust laws.

Lots of businesses get caught up in these laws when they join trade associates and talk about their products or pricing with each other. So don’t discuss your prices with your competitors. Second, don’t agree with your competitors to stay out of each other’s turf. It may be gentlemanly, it’s also illegal and if the FTC finds out, your goose will be cooked.

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