Antitrust class action lawsuits are used to stop practices that restrain trade and the free market and to compensate those who are negatively affected by the incident.
Antitrust lawsuits can be filed in response to:
- Price fixing
- Bid rigging
- Any practice deemed in restraint of free trade
These lawsuits can be filed individually, but many are antitrust class action cases because so many people are affected. The goal is to keep the market free, open, and competitive.
A number of laws are in place to protect consumers and the free market. These laws are designed to support a fair marketplace and prevent businesses from using uncompetitive practices to take advantage of consumers and other businesses.
Some of the most important antitrust laws include:
- Sherman Antitrust Act: the first antitrust measure passed by the US Congress, this law allows the federal government to investigate and prosecute monopolies and price-fixing cartels
- Clayton Act: allows the federal government to enforce antitrust provisions not only when businesses have effectively permitted or created a monopoly, but even when they may “tend to create” a monopolistic atmosphere
- Federal Trade Commission Act: passed in conjunction with the Clayton Act, this law bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices”
The laws are enforced by the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, but antitrust lawsuits can be brought by consumers and businesses against anyone that engages in uncompetitive practices.
Some of the most recent antitrust settlements include:
- Merchants alleged Visa and Mastercard forced retailers to accept signature debit cards and pay the same transaction fee as they do on regular credit cards. Merchants also alleged the two companies intended to monopolize the debit card industry. A settlement of several billion dollars was reached and Visa and Mastercard were forced to clearly mark their cards to distinguish between debit and credit cards.
- Plaintiffs accused Microsoft of engaging in anti-competitive practices, violating deceptive and unfair business practice laws, and overcharging businesses and consumers for its Windows operating systems. The settlement was for more than $700 million.
- Consumers claimed there was price fixing by large department store chains and prestige beauty brands. The settlement was for $200 million and plaintiffs also received free cosmetics.
Contacting an Antitrust Class Action Lawyer
Antitrust class action lawyers represent people and businesses that were harmed because of anti-competitive behavior. Companies that attempt to thwart freedom in the market are typically guilty of deception, fraud, or bad faith behavior.
An antitrust lawyer can investigate a situation and determine if any laws were broken. They can also help those affected by the actions of the company or companies at fault and support them in gaining compensation for their losses.
Working with an Antitrust Class Action Attorney
As surprising as it might seem, there are still many instances in which businesses face antitrust allegations, even though laws have been in place supporting a fair and competitive market for decades.
If you believe antitrust laws are being violated, you might want to contact an antitrust class action attorney.
An attorney who is an expert in antitrust laws might be able to assist with legal counseling, investigations into wrongdoing, settlement negotiations, and litigation. Whether an antitrust issue arises from transactions, disputes, or government policy, an antitrust attorney might be able to help.
Antitrust cases can be complex and deal with a variety of issues, including marketing and advertising, pricing, mergers and acquisitions, distribution and sales, and so much more. A successful antitrust claim requires the support and guidance of an experienced antitrust attorney.
If you would like to know more or you have questions about antitrust class action lawsuits, contact us to schedule a consultation.