Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Issue Joint Statement to Preserve Competition in Post-Hurricane Relief Efforts
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part in relief efforts and those involved in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Ida without violating the antitrust laws.
“The Antitrust Division and its law enforcement partners will not tolerate businesses and individuals who prey upon hurricane victims or seek to corrupt relief efforts,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Antitrust Division. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the division’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force will leverage every tool in its arsenal to root out collusion, corruption and fraud targeting disaster relief.”
“When a disaster like Hurricane Ida strikes, it’s unconscionable for any company to exploit the tragedy for their own financial gain,” said Acting Director Holly Vedova of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “We’re committed to working with our partners to crack down on abusive and illegal practices and protecting the people affected by the disaster so they can focus on recovering.”
The antitrust laws accommodate procompetitive collaborations among competitors. At the same time, the agencies intend to hold accountable those who enter into anticompetitive agreements that take advantage of hurricane victims or hurricane relief efforts. Among other actions, the Department of Justice will criminally prosecute companies that fix prices, rig bids, or allocate customers, and the FTC will investigate and take action against companies and individuals who violate the consumer protection laws.
Anyone with information on price fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation agreements or other anticompetitive conduct should call the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.
Consumers or businesses with concerns about fraudulent activity can also call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or visit https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/how-report-disaster-related-fraud.