We hear a lot about bullying in schools but lately I’ve also been hearing about business bullies. This is certainly not a new phenomenon but occasionally the behaviour can tip over into illegal conduct. However, a lot of traders don’t know that certain kinds of bullying conduct is illegal because it’s anti-competitive, and that there is something you can do about it.
The Commerce Act 1986 exists to prevent and punish anti-competitive behaviour in business. “Anti-competitive” means working to reduce competition and competition is considered to be generally good for customers because it reduces costs and promotes improvements. The Commerce Commission is a Government regulator that enforces the Act and is open to receiving complaints about anti-competitive behaviour.
Examples of anti-competitive behaviour are:
taking advantage of a dominant position in a market for an anti-competitive purpose;
specifying a minimum price that someone call sell goods or services;
making agreements that reduce competition;
making agreements that exclude or limit dealings with a rival;
making agreements that fix, maintain or control prices (these are cartel agreements).
If you are aware of these kinds of behaviours in your market maybe you don’t need to tolerate them. Have a look at the Commerce Commission website and give them a call.