Competition in business is healthy because it can drive innovation, provide choices and keep costs reasonable for consumers, among other benefits. When businesses compete unfairly, however, it can be ruinous. This is why North Carolina and federal laws offer protections for entrepreneurs who suffer damages because of another business owner’s unfair competition.
Unfair competition often involves fraud or deception that not only harms a competitor’s business but also violates the rights of consumers. For example, a business may advertise the sale of a designer item but replace it with a cheaper brand without informing the consumer. This is a form of unfair competition called unauthorized substitution. Similar to this is bait-and-switch, in which customers hear promises of one item only to arrive at the store and learn the only option available is a more expensive version.
Practices that directly damage a business include rumor mongering. This illegal act involves spreading malicious rumors about a competitor through the press or other means in order to hurt their business. An unscrupulous business owner may also steal trade secrets, undersell a competitor or infringe on the trademarked property of another business.
When a business uses unfair competition to get ahead, it can leave other businesses struggling. Fortunately, there are laws to protect businesses from these tactics, and some North Carolina business owners have successfully recouped damages they suffered due to the deceptive actions of other companies. Having the solid representation of a skilled business attorney can be invaluable when dealing with matters than may affect the success and vitality of a business.