Indy Auto Parts Shops File Antitrust Suit

Oct 29, 2004

By George Anderson

A CBS MarketWatch report says 160 independent auto parts shop owners have filed an antitrust lawsuit against large retailers such as AutoZone, Advanced Auto, Wal-Mart and manufacturers including Ford alleging they are being driven out of business by a pricing system that gives the chains better deals.

The attorney in the case, Carl Person, said, “We’re losing our entire independent distribution system here in America. For the first time, we’re now suing the manufacturers who are the ones that can stop these kinds of practices. They give the lower price because the monopolists, who have the power to dictate the price, demand it.”

Moderator’s Comment: Do the independent auto parts retailers filing the antitrust suit have a legitimate claim against
the retailers and manufacturers named in the case? What would a verdict in favor of the independent auto parts shops mean for independents in other product categories who compete
against large national chains?

Gus Whitcomb, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart told CBS MarketWatch, “This appears to be another in a series of lawsuits from a lawyer who targets various
industries. We haven’t been served with this suit yet, but if we are in fact named, we will vigorously defend ourselves against these inflammatory charges.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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