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Price Fixing

Price fixing is an agreement between business competitors selling the same product or service regarding its pricing. In general, it is an agreement intended to ultimately push the price of a product as high as possible, leading to windfall profits for all the sellers. Price-fixing can also involve any agreement to fix, peg, discount or stabilize prices. The principal feature is any agreement on price, whether express or implied. For the buyer, meanwhile, the practice results in a phenomenon similar to price gouging

Methods of price fixing can include selling at a common target price; setting a common "minimum" price; buying the product from a supplier at a specified "maximum" price; adhering to a price book or list price; engagment in cooperative price advertising; standardizing financial credit terms offered to purchasers; using uniform trade-in allowances; limiting discounts; discontinuing a free service or fixing the price of one component of an overall service; adhering uniformly to previously-announced prices and terms of sale; establishing uniform costs and markups; imposing mandatory surcharges; purposefully reducing output or sales; or purposefully sharing or "pooling" markets, territories, or customers

Generally, price fixing is illegal, but it may nevertheless be tolerated or even sanctioned by some governments at various times, particularly among those whose countries are developing economies

Most state statutes provide that fixing the price of a product or service in agreement with another individual or business is illegal. The general rule provides that a vendor may not in combination with another vendor agree to set a certain price thereby creating a fixed price within a certain market. A business acting on its own and not in concert with another may use legitimate efforts to obtain the best price they can, including their ability to raise prices to the detriment of the general public. Also, conformity of prices within a given product is not illegal unless such conformity was created by a combination of vendors agreeing on a set price. For example, where competitors agree to sell their goods or services at a specified price, minimum price or maximum price and they receive profits from such an agreement, they are in violation of price fixing. Additionally, setting a price to be charged only within a certain area in order to get rid of competition or to create a monopoly is generally illegal under most state laws. A majority of states have also enacted a "Below-Sales-Cost"law wherein businesses may not sell goods below cost if they do so with anti-competitive intent or effect




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