The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice today announced the release of antitrust guidance for businesses taking part in relief efforts and those involved in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The guidance is intended to help businesses understand how they can work together to rebuild affected communities without violating the antitrust laws. The antitrust laws accommodate procompetitive collaborations among competitors. At the same time, the agencies intend to hold accountable those who enter into anticompetitive agreements that take advantage of hurricane victims or hurricane relief efforts. Among other actions, the Federal Trade Commission will investigate and take action against companies and individuals who violate the consumer protection laws, and the Department of Justice will criminally prosecute companies that fix prices, rig bids, or allocate customers.
The FTC has advice for dealing with weather emergencies. If you suspect fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-866-720-5721 and report it to the FTC. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice and put an end to unfair and misleading business practices. Anyone with information on price fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation agreements, or other anticompetitive conduct should call the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.
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