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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 29823
Experience:  Attorney
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I have started a new paint store in Des Moines Iowa. I have

Customer Question

I have started a new paint store in Des Moines Iowa. I have recently learned that Sherwin Williams is signing contracts and offering incentives to painters to specifically stay out of my store. Is this legal?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Hi,

My name is Lucy and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

No, that's not legal. The law has an interest in promoting healthy competition to give consumers choice and avoid monopolies. As a result, anti-competitive conduct such as this is regulated. A competitor may offer incentives to visit their store instead of yours (i.e., by having sales or issuing coupons), but they may not enter contracts whereby they require individuals or companies not to use your store. That is a method of unfair competition, and it's illegal.

I would recommend talking to a local anti-trust attorney about the specific facts of your case. To start, he can send a "cease and desist" letter to the other company. If that fails, then you can file suit. These are complicated cases, so it is best to have a lawyer. A good place to look is http://www.martindale.com.