Owning a business can be a tough endeavor, especially if yours specializes in an area with considerable competition. When a competing business begins engaging in unfair business practices to obtain an upper hand, it can have a negative impact on you and other law-abiding entrepreneurs.
California law prohibits unfair business practices, but they still occur. When they do, you have options.
What constitutes unfair business practices?
The umbrella of unfair business practices covers unfair or fraudulent actions and false, deceptive or misleading marketing to consumers. Examples of unfair competitive prices include gouging prices, monopolizing the market, purposefully conspiring with other business owners to fix prices or boycott your business and selling the same products or services for different prices in different areas in the state.
What can you do if a competitor engages in unfair business practices?
If you lost money or property as a result of an unfair practice, you have the right to file a lawsuit under California’s Unfair Competition Law. However, there is a statute of limitations. You must file your claim within four years of the date the alleged unlawful action took place. The court may choose to impose monetary punishment, allowing you to receive damages.
Alternatively, the court may also choose to issue an injunction. This forbids the offender from continuing to use the unfair method in practice, providing you relief.
Unlawful competitive practices can be devastating for businesses that choose to obey the law. You do have legal recourse though. Amazon currently faces a lawsuit for stifling competition, showing that you have options even against much larger competitors.