Quick lesson on US laws regarding price fixing (collaborative artificial inflation)

(This is only applicable to U.S. law. Laws on price fixing obviously vary per country, I’m not familiar with laws elsewhere.)

I won’t say which circle I saw this in (and I’m sure it exists in several circles of sellers honestly), but I caught wind of a pact between a number of US sellers who all agreed to price an animal at a specific high price, so that way they could all benefit from more money made per animal. Since there are a limited number of suppliers of the animal in question, there’s not many others who are able to undercut these artificially inflated prices.

While this is a bit morally grey on it’s own, I’m not sure people are aware that practices like these are also illegal in the US.

Collusion is an illegal business practice involving the collaboration of multiple competitors to manipulate the market via artificial inflation. Artificial inflation on its own is frowned upon by some, but not usually illegal. However, when multiple competitors who provide the majority of a product in their market collaboratively inflate the price at a set rate, this is called price fixing, which is a form of collusion. Price fixing is absolutely illegal in the US.

Collusion is not always easy to prove in court, but when you have communications between sellers outright saying “Hey we’re making an agreement to all sell these animals at [$$$] or more, so we can all make more money. Could you also do this?” you make it really easy to prove, most companies would at least try to be subtle about it. That’s why I assume these sellers are not aware of the fact this is illegal.

Wanted to make this post to hopefully make people more aware of these laws. It’s less common for hobby businesses to be charged for practices like this (the laws are more intended for large scale corporations), but the FTC or US government can always decide they want to make an example out of you, so better safe than sorry.

It’s also just kind of an inappropriate move, so maybe don’t do this regardless of laws.


Please edit your post to remove adult language.