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What makes competition unfair in business?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Business & Commercial Law

The capitalist system in the US thrives on competition, and New York has one of the most competitive business environments in the world. This financial contest normally drives efficiencies and keeps prices in check. So, what does it mean to say that some competition in business is unfair? Usually, it involves illegal actions. There are federal and state laws designed to combat these kinds of practices.

Types of unfair competition

Unfair competition is a significant issue of business and commercial law. New Yorkers are probably already familiar with unfair competition in business even if they don’t realize it. False advertising is an example of unfair competition. When a company makes false or unproven claims in their marketing, that’s considered false advertising. The Federal Trade Commission and other bodies can sue a company for it. Brands such as Dannon have lost tens of millions of dollars by engaging in these misleading practices.

Starting false rumors is another way that companies make it hard for their competitors to do business. This amounts to libel or slander, both of which are already crimes under the law. It’s as wrong for a business to do this to a competitor as it is for one private individual to do it to another.

In some states it’s against the law to bait customers to a store by offering a particular special and then not having it available. While sometimes stores do run low on quantity for sales, there are aboveboard ways to deal with this. One example is to offer rain checks. It becomes legally wrong when the store never really intended to sell the item. Instead, they used a false promise as a lure to shift their other products.

Dealing with unfair competition

If you believe that your company is victim to unfair competitive practices, it’s wise to contact a lawyer. They can help you understand whether you have a case and how to pursue it.