Consumers rely on healthy competition to keep the prices down and the standard of offerings high. The federal and state governments consider free competition so vital that they have laws to protect it.
Yet, some business owners still use illicit tactics to limit other companies’ ability to compete against them. If they do, your legal options may depend on the scale of the issue.
Unfair business practices can happen at all business sizes
Google and Facebook have faced repeated criticism for their attempts to monopolize their sectors. Those cases fall under antitrust laws.
Yet, it is not only the big companies who use dirty tactics to gain an advantage. If done on a smaller scale, it probably falls under unfair competition laws. Here are some of the ways a competitor might be breaking the law to gain an advantage over you:
- They lie about their product: You sell craft beer in 12-ounce cans. A new brewery releases a series of cans marked as 14 ounces for the same price. When you investigate, you find their cans only hold 12 ounces of beer, and they are deceiving customers in an attempt to gain your market share.
- They try to discredit you: A new pizza joint sets up across the road from you. When the local press interviews the owner, he tells them that he decided to start the business after visiting your restaurant and finding rat droppings in his topping. False defamation is not an acceptable business practice.
- They steal from you: Nothing stops a rival company from trying to tempt your head programmer away with better pay. However, you might have wording in the employee’s contract to prevent them from going. If the other company succeeds and then launches an app that is remarkably similar to the project you were working on, it may be they stole your trade secrets as well as your employee.
Understanding the legal options to hold a competitor to fair business practices is crucial for you and your customers. Having someone outsmart you in business is one thing. Having them cheat you is another.