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What Are Unfair Trade Practices?

Business is a competitive field, but there’s a difference between using your guile and using deception to succeed. Unfair trade practices occur when businesses seek to undermine their competition in ways that are blatantly unjust. Some businesses will take advantage of their customers for the sake of extra revenue.  Some companies are unaware that they partake in unfair trade practices until they are faced with a lawsuit.

False promises

“Buyer beware” will not suffice for a business lawsuit, especially if the business' claims are unfounded. From research of product performance to excellent training of service providers, there are simple ways a business can ensure they are delivering on their promises.  Demonstrable claims need to be backed up. If you sell a product that promises to restore hair in 30 days for all users, it must be able to do that. Otherwise, you need to offer a money-back guarantee. You must also be able to prove that any endorsements are valid. Don’t misquote or even paraphrase what people have to say. If you do find a glowing testimonial about your product, make sure to get the person’s consent before quoting them.


You can’t have a friendly competition in a business environment if you’re hogging up all the resources. This is more than antitrust lawsuits you see on the news, it can be a regional and local issue as well.  If you are unsure if you are susceptible to antitrust laws, consult your local lawyer.

Tricking customers

It’s important to view your customers as people and not just a means to make a profit. When you take advantage of them, you not only develop a reputation as a shady businessperson, you are breaking the law. Devious companies will exploit age and language barriers to sell customers on products and services that they don’t need or can’t afford.  The most famous was the prohibition of selling credit cards to college students, who are unaware of the financial implications. To avoid this, establish that any customers you or your other team members speak are fully cognizant of the situation and the decisions they’re making.

Siphoning Employees

If you have a company and specifically hire former employees of a competing company, you could be committing an unfair trade practice. Researching employee records can make it easy to find an alarming trend of deliberating targeting those who worked at, or are currently working at, a certain company. When this happens, the original company could face major legal and financial consequences. This is why many companies require employees to sign non-competition clauses which state that they won’t be able to form another, similar company after leaving. This not only helps the company’s bottom line, but it also helps prevent valuable information about the company from leaking out to their competition.

Inconsistent Pricing

Companies will use certain strategies to charge certain people less than others for the same product. They won’t have items listed as “$100 for people under 65, $150 for people over 65.” However, they might use shrewd strategizing to get more money out of certain people. This is known as “price discrimination.” It could be a car insurance company charging more based on age or gender, even if the person taking out the policy has no history of auto accidents. It could also include charging premiums on goods exported to certain countries.

Tate Law Group can help you navigate the tricky waters of unfair business practices.  If you are unsure of your business practices or would like to have a lawyer on hand for future questions, Tate Law Group is ready for you. Contact us today at (912) 234-3030 or click here.


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