In late May, Mexico’s antitrust agency, the Federal Competition Commission, opened an investigation into Wal-Mart for "monopolistic practices." The action was prompted by charges that Wal-Mart has abused its market power by pressuring suppliers to sell goods below cost or at prices substantially lower than those available to other retailers (even after accounting for reasonable volume discounts).
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A federal judge has dismissed all charges in the antitrust case brought by three independent video rental businesses against Blockbuster Video and several major Hollywood studios. The defendants were charged with price discrimination and conspiracy to prevent independent stores from gaining access to the same revenue-sharing deals available to Blockbuster.
The now defunct Intimate Bookshop of North Carolina has filed suit against Barnes & Noble and Borders Books alleging that the chains used their market power to pressure publishers for special discounts and terms unavailable to other retailers.
According to documents filed in the case by Intimate’s attorney, Carl Person, the chains received an effective discount of 60 percent off the cover price, compared to only about 40-46 percent given to independent bookstores.
In January, Canada’s university and college bookstores filed a complaint with federal competition officials over attempts by Indigo, the country’s largest book chain, to assume control of campus bookstores. Continue reading
Divorcement laws are designed to prevent oil companies from using their power within the supply chain to manipulate prices and force independent and franchise gas station owners out of business. Continue reading
Wal-Mart admits no wrongdoing and will not pay a fine in a settlement reached with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection over a predatory pricing complaint filed by the agency last year. The company will, however, face double or triple fines for any future violations, according to the terms of the agreement.
The complaint accused Wal-Mart of selling butter, milk, laundry detergent, and other staple goods below cost at stores in Beloit, Oshkosh, Racine, Tomah, and West Bend.
In late April, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) settled its antitrust case against Barnes & Noble and Borders Books for $4.7 million. The lawsuit charged the two chains with using their market power to bully publishers and wholesalers into providing special discounts and favorable terms that were not made available to independent bookstores.
After more than two years in the discovery phase, a trial is finally scheduled to begin on April 9 in the antitrust lawsuit brought by the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and more than 20 individual bookstores against Barnes & Noble and Borders Books.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, charges the two chains with using their market clout to bully publishers into providing "secret, discriminatory, and illegal" discounts not made available to independent bookstores, even on orders of the s
In September, Wal-Mart was hit with three separate charges of predatory pricing. Government officials in Wisconsin and Germany accused the retailer of pricing goods below cost with an intent to drive competitors out of the market. In Oklahoma, Wal-Mart faces a private lawsuit alleging similar illegal pricing practices.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection filed a complaint with an administrative law judge accusing the retailer of violating the state’s antitrust law.
As the story above suggests, Wal-Mart routinely engages in predatory pricing. But the company would prefer not to break the law in the process. To this end, Wal-Mart has joined with Murphy Oil in an effort to repeal a Florida law that prohibits predatory pricing among gasoline retailers.
The two companies financed a "consumer" group, the Coalition for Lower Gas Prices, which contends the Motor Fuel Marketing Practices Act costs Florida consumers $150 million annually in higher gas prices.