Fair Market Competition and Fair Treatment of the Public
- When competition works well, consumers are empowered, as well as informed.
- Consumers can make sense of the information they receive and can take their business elsewhere if they are not happy.
- Firms strive to win customers on the basis of service, quality, price and innovation.
- These business principles help generate better outcomes for consumers.
- Markets are open to entry and innovation. Successful, innovative firms thrive, while unsuccessful firms change or go out of business.
What Scenarios are a Violation of Antitrust Laws?
Because real estate brokers and salespeople frequently cooperate with one another in the sale of properties, they have numerous opportunities to engage in conduct that might be considered to be violations of antitrust laws.
Here are some examples:
- Real-estate associations can collectively set commissions. True or false?
- Two competitors in my market ask you to cooperate with them in setting a “standard” commission for the area. You refuse, but subsequently start charging the same rate that your competitors suggested. T or F
- Brokers agree not to cooperate with another company, by not showing that company’s listings. They do not violate antitrust laws if they enter into that agreement because they consider the company’s aggressive “high-tech” marketing techniques to be unethical. T or F
- If one of the salespeople participates in a price-fixing discussion, the Associate and company can be held liable — even if the broker has no personal knowledge of the salesperson’s conduct. T or F
- If an agent entices buyers by offering them half his commission, is this bribing and preventing the use of a buy agent advocate for the buyer? T or F
- Agent A tries to convince buyers already working with another agent, to drop agent B and get a better deal with a discount off the price of the property. Does this mean the buyer will only see the inventory of agent A´s company and not what is available in the market? T or F
- When an agent takes an overpriced listing as a way to get calls for buyers to sell other properties realistically priced, is this harmful and misleading to the seller who has the overpriced listing? T or F
- There are two major brokerage firms in a small town divided by a river who decide that one will take properties north of the river, while the other stays to the south. Any such agreement violates the antitrust laws. T or F
- A broker responds to a customer inquiry about a commission saying the price is standard or is what his real-estate association suggests to charge. Real-estate associations can collectively set commissions. T or F
Difference in Unfair Business Practices and Unfair Competition
Unfair business practices encompass fraud, misrepresentation, and oppressive or unconscionable acts or practices by business, often against consumers and are prohibited by law in many countries.
Unfair competition is an unjust and often illegal attempt to gain unfair competitive advantage through false, fraudulent, or unethical commercial conduct. Examples include below-cost selling, counterfeiting or imitation, dumping, misleading.
This article is based upon Flex MLS reporting, legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his own due diligence and review. If you have any other questions, contact me through my website.Harriet Murray