Guide to Antitrust Laws (Keeping Markets Competitive)


FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Keeping Markets Competitive

Consumers and business owners can help keep markets competitive. Here’s how:

Do your homework. Competition is fostered both by sellers vying for your business and shoppers seeking the best deal. Take the time to think about what you really need or want, research the alternatives, and know the prices and product offerings of different retailers and manufacturers. An informed shopper is in the best position to detect a suspicious lack of competition for no apparent reason.

Alert federal and state antitrust agencies if you suspect illegal behavior. Consumers and businesses are important sources of information about competitive conditions in the marketplace. While the FTC cannot act on behalf of an individual consumer or business, the information you provide can be helpful in revealing harm to competition and to consumers.

Don’t forget to write. If you have an antitrust problem or complaint, or if you wish to provide information that may be helpful in an investigation, contact the FTC:

  • via mail. Office of Policy and Evaluation, Bureau of Competition, FTC, Washington, D.C. 20580, or your closest FTC regional office. Addresses are on the inside back cover.
  • via telephone. Dial (202) FTC-HELP [(202) 382-4357 for FTC headquarters, or your closest regional office. Telephone numbers are on the inside back cover.
  • via e-mail. Send a message to antitrust@ftc.gov, or contact us on the Internet at www.ftc.gov. E-mail communications are not secure; if you wish to submit confidential information, send it by mail and mark it Confidential.

With few exceptions, FTC investigations are not public. If you provide information or make a complaint, it will be kept confidential. Neither the information nor your identity will be disclosed outside the FTC. Similarly, if you contact us about an investigation, you may be told that we cannot discuss it, or even confirm or deny its existence. Still, we can receive your information and make sure it gets to appropriate FTC staff. In some cases, a staff person may wish to use the information in court if the case is litigated. In that event, you may be asked to provide an affidavit or other statement under oath, or appear as a witness at the trial. These situations are relatively rare, however. If those circumstances arise, your identity will have to be disclosed to the lawyers representing the companies or persons under investigation. FTC staff will seek your cooperation before making such disclosures.

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