Q: Our supplier has forced us to stop selling to one of our top customers after one of our competitors complained about it
Our supplier (product manufacture) has forced us to stop selling to one of our top customers, losings hundreds of orders a week, thousands of dollars a week. This was a result of one of our competitors complaining that it was unfair that we had landed such a large account and they could no longer compete. Our supplier, instead of staying neutral in the situation seems to have caved under pressure to force us to stop selling to our customer. When we started selling this manufactures products in 2005 there were no stipulations as to who we could sell their products too, now the manufacture is attempting to add this stipulation to their member rules. We busted our behinds promoting these products, provided our customers with great customer service and really made a name for ourselves, so much so that we caught the eye of a top online retailer, only to be forced to stop selling to them after our competitor complained. Is this legal? Could we present an antitrust law suit aga
A: That's a difficult antitrust lawsuit to win because "vertical" restrictions by a manufacturer on its distributors or retailers are judged under a permissive "rule of reason" standard and typically believed to be procompetitive. There's an old antitrust axiom that says what matters is competition, not competitors.
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