Lakeside Imagers

Legal Issues in Selling

There are many legal issues that salespeople must be aware of. The following is a partial list of such issues. There is some overlap in the issues provided.

Antitrust laws in the U.S. require fair competition. It is against the law to work with a competitor to fix prices, or to divide customers, territories or markets. Indications that such activity is occurring has been found to include discussing with competitors pricing, terms and conditions of sale, marketing plans, costs of production, and so forth.

Interfering with any contract between a competitor and a customer of the competitor.

Gathering competitive intelligence using theft, black market purchases, blackmail, threats, eavesdropping using electronic means, illegal entry, and so forth.

Using inside information for trading, or tipping others to trade. Inside information can include many aspects including but not limited to financial forecasts or earnings, information about the loss of a significant customer, information about acquiring a new large customer, planned mergers or acquisitions, changes in management that are planned but have not been announced, information about new products or inventions that have not been announced, and so forth.

Participating in an international boycott that the U.S. government does not sanction.

The export of products to specific countries and entities that are restricted by U.S. law.

Failure to follow economic sanction regulations that apply to doing business with certain countries or entities.

Misrepresentation of information (lying, not providing full disclosure to buyers for potentially dangerous products like prescription drugs).

Defaming a competitor (making unfair or untrue statements).

Forcing a buyer to engage in reciprocity.

Forcing a buyer to accept a tying agreement (buy one product but only if you buy another one also).

Interfering with competitors (tampering with products, confusing a competitor's market research, stealing from them at a trade show).

Forcing resale price maintenance.

Unjustified price discrimination.

Violating privacy laws (giving information about a customer to someone else).

Violating do-not-call laws.

Subordination (paying bribes to officials).

Mishandling of funds or compensation (e.g., real estate salesperson unlawfully paying compensation, mishandling trust funds).

Fraud in a licensed capacity (e.g., acting as a security dealer without proper endorsements).

Failure to follow specific industry laws or regulations (e.g., not filing proper reports or disclosure statements for real estate salespeople, not having doctors sign for samples of prescription drugs).

Failure to disclose income.

Restraint of trade (forcing a customer to stop carrying a competitor's product).

Shipping unordered goods or shipping larger quantities than customers ordered.

Substituting goods from those ordered or failing to fill an order within a reasonable time.

Using spiffs (commissions or payments to customer's salespeople) without the customer's knowledge.

Pressuring someone to buy something through coercion or intimidation.

Giving gifts or money to an official or an employee of a governmental entity if doing so could be reasonably construed as having a connection with your company.