Kohn, Swift & Graf’s antitrust lawyers represent businesses and consumers injured by illegal price discrimination. A business engages in price discrimination when it sells the same or similar products to different customers at different prices. Certain types of price discrimination violate antitrust laws and can result in liability to injured purchasers.
Price Discrimination Lawsuits
Most price discrimination is legal. Antitrust laws prohibit only price discrimination that harms competition or creates a significant risk of harming competition.
Price discrimination prohibited under the Robinson-Patman Act occurs when:
• a seller charges two or more similarly situated buyers a different price for the same products or products of like grade and quality
• the products are sold at approximately the same time
• the products are sold for use or resale within the United States and cross state lines (sold in interstate commerce)
• the price discrimination substantially reduces competition for the product
Sufficient evidence of a substantial reduction in competition requires more than a showing of lost sales. A claimant must establish that continued price discrimination has a reasonable probability of causing a significant reduction of competition in one or more affected markets.
Price discrimination in violation of the Robinson-Patman Act can also occur through:
• payment for or furnishing of facilities used for sale, processing, or handling of products
• acceptance or payment of commissions, allowances, discounts, or other compensation related to sales
Price discrimination cases are frequently brought against large / powerful buyers that:
• induce sellers to engage in price discrimination that violates the Robinson-Patman Act, or
• knowingly accept discriminatory prices prohibited by the Act
The activity of the buyer is illegal when its aim is to lessen its competition in markets in which it conducts business.
Price Discrimination Defenses
Defendants in price discrimination lawsuits can counter a price discrimination allegation by showing that:
• the different prices offered to different purchasers are justified by differences in associated costs
• the purpose of the price difference was to meet a competing seller’s price
Price Discrimination Damages / Relief
The Robinson-Patman Act enables plaintiffs in price discrimination suits to obtain:
• treble (triple) damages for lost profits due to illegal price discrimination
• attorneys’ fees paid in connection with the lawsuit
• injunctions to prevent further injury from discriminatory pricing
Contact an Antitrust Lawyer
Illegal price discrimination can seriously injure competition and unfairly increase costs to consumers and businesses. If you believe you are the victim of anti-competitive price discrimination, contact Kohn, Swift & Graf for an evaluation of your case without charge.