General Question

canidmajor's avatar

Which federal agency deals with price fixing?

Asked by canidmajor (3548 points ) April 10th, 2014

Is it the FBI? The treasury department? The DOJ?

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10 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

What is being fixed in this scenario? Depending who or how it’s done, it could be the DOJ through a civil action. It could be the SEC maybe.

zenvelo's avatar

Federal Trade Commission, or the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice. And DOJ can pursue criminal violations if there has been an order issued.

(The SEC does not deal with price fixing at all.)

Cruiser's avatar

In the United States, price fixing can be prosecuted as a criminal federal offense under section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.[1]

Criminal prosecutions may only be handled by the U.S. Department of Justice, but the Federal Trade Commission also has jurisdiction for civil antitrust violations. Many State Attorneys General also bring antitrust cases and have antitrust offices, such as Virginia, New York, and California.

Private individuals or organizations may file lawsuits for triple damages for antitrust violations, and depending on the law, recover attorneys fees and costs expended on prosecution of a case.

cazzie's avatar

It’s the Federal Trade Commission. @zenvelo is right. the Anti-trust commission has a bit more to do with checking if certain large corporations can buy out each other and leave a fair market behind, so that the combining of the big players doesn’t constitute a monopoly.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Do you mean which Federal agency is the cause of price fixing?

bolwerk's avatar

@zenvelo: the SEC has power to deal with price-fixing with regards to securities markets. I think it’s SEC Rule 10b-5, specifically, gives it this power. As I said, the OP didn’t specify what was being fixed.

Yes, it’s the FTC that deals with goods and and I assume most services. I mistakenly thought it was part of the DOJ, but evidently it is an independent agency (like the SEC). My bad.

That said, I probably wasn’t exactly wrong either. The DOJ has power to act independently. For that matter, perhaps Treasury would too in the case of something affecting the banking system.

zenvelo's avatar

@bolwerk 10b-5 is about deceptive or manipulative practices (i.e., insider trading)
.
In 1999 the options markets were sued by the DOJ and then the SEC for anti trust practices, although everything was being done under SEC approval. The SEC made clear they could impose conditions on the exchanges to enhance competition, but that findings regarding collusive behavior was the jurisdiction of the DOJ.

Judi's avatar

I would start with the Federat Trade Commision
edit: Ugh. should have read the other answers first. sorry.
It looks like they ike to go after doctors.

bolwerk's avatar

@zenvelo: price fixing is manipulative, especially if it involves collusion with other parties. 10b-5 is famously broad, a popular topic in managerial finance classes.

cazzie's avatar

I know two women who price fix their crafts. I never buy anything from them and now I found out that their stuff is just a rip off from a very successful Swedish children’s clothing line. They aren’t even original.

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