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US: FTC judge rules against 1-800 Contacts in antitrust suit

 |  October 31, 2017

A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) judge has ruled against the online seller 1-800 Contacts, which the agency accused of hammering out deals with rivals that made it harder for consumers to comparison shop, the agency said on Monday.

The FTC accused the company of reaching agreements with 14 other online contact lens retailers which required the companies to refrain from advertising to consumers who had searched online for 1-800 Contacts. 1-800 Contacts, in exchange, agreed to not advertise to people who searched for the rivals’ names.

The agreements hampered price-conscious consumers from finding rival contact lens sellers and checking their costs, the ruling said.

“The evidence in this case demonstrates that the advertising restraints imposed by the challenged agreements cause harm to consumers and competition in the market for the sale of contact lenses online,” wrote Michael Chappell, the FTC administrative law judge who heard the case.

The decision was reached on October 20 but withheld until Monday, October 30, in order to make redactions. Chappell ordered 1-800 Contacts to end the practice of reaching agreements that limit the advertisements of rivals.

Full Content: Federal Trade Commission

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