The free enterprise system has as its basis a vigorous and healthy competition among businesses for market share. However, some businesses go too far in how they vie with competitors and in how hard they push consumers to make a sale. There are laws against unfair business practices.
Laws prohibiting certain practices developed to level the playing field between large companies and their relatively small counterparts. Attempting to drive small companies out of business, some large companies engage in such illegal activities as:
• Setting the final price of goods sold to the consumer
• Setting the price paid for supplies from vendors
• Dividing the market into geographical areas
• Creating monopolies
Protection under unfair business practices has expanded to consumers. It is illegal to advertise or conduct business in a way that is:
The primary issue with consumers is their expectation in the performance of the product they buy; that is, if it does not live up to the advertised promises, the company may be liable.
Before a consumer can file suit to recover damages for unfair business practices, he or she must give the business an opportunity to correct the problem through a refund or by providing a product that functions as advertised.
As the protections for the consumer have expanded, so too have false claims. Allegations can be made without an actual party who has suffered harm and a competitor can bring suit against a rival in order to cause economic harm and perhaps put that rival out of business.