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Antitrust laws prevent unfair competition in the marketplace

Business owners in Florida are subject to federal laws that protect competition, which is essential to prevent corporations from raising prices unfairly for consumers and to promote quality products and services. According to the Federal Trade Commission, these antitrust laws are applied by courts based on current marketplace conditions, so they remain fair even though they were passed over a century ago.

Monopolization is a direct threat to capitalism, and the Sherman Act states that it constitutes unfair competition. This Act also applies to companies that restrict trade by forming an unreasonable partnership or those that engage in market division, rigged bids or price-fixing. These are serious charges, and a company that violates the Sherman Act may face litigation in both civil and criminal courts.

In dealing with mergers, the Clayton Act is more specific than the Sherman Act. Since an amendment was made in 1976, the government must be notified before any large acquisitions and mergers take place. Those that may lead to a monopoly or reduce competition significantly are against the law. It is also illegal for corporations to discriminate during transactions involving some allowances, services and prices. Violators of the Sherman or Clayton Acts may be sued by private parties and ordered to pay triple damages.

To enforce the antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Commission Act created the FTC, which investigates companies that may be engaging in deceptive trade practices, fraud or unfair competition. The agency examines plans submitted for mergers and acquisitions to ensure that they do not harm consumers. Illegal activities are reported to law enforcement agencies, and the FTC may file lawsuits, as well. By enforcing the antitrust laws, the FTC ensures that all companies have a fair chance of success in the marketplace.

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