Invitations to Collude - The Unprecedented Expansion of the FTC Act

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This article originially published in The Bar Association Metropolitan of St. Louis and The St. Louis Bar Journal.

On June 9, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission approved the settlement of a complaint against U-Haul International, Inc., which alleged that U-Haul invited its competitor, Avis Budget Group, Inc., to collude on prices for the truck rentals. The complaint charged that between 2006 and 2008, U-Haul attempted to raise prices for one-way truck rentals by privately and publicly communicating with Budget. The complaint does not, however, allege that U-Haul and Budget reached an agreement of that there was any adverse effect on competition. U-Haul agreed to the settlement order that prevents it from, inter alia, inviting a competitor to fix prices, divide markets, or allocate customers. This invitation to collude case represents the FTC's most recent efforts to expand the scope of the section 5 of the FTC Act to include unfair methods of competition that are outside the scope of the antitrust laws.

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