Are you violating antitrust laws?

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01/12/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Certain activities can result in antitrust violations, but which ones? See if you know what’s acceptable, who could be held responsible, and what to do if you think you’re involved in a discussion that could be problematic.

1. Which of the following could be an antitrust violation?

a. Promising another agent that you won’t work in his market if he avoids yours
b. Agreeing with other agents or firms to boycott an ancillary services company that has practices you don’t like
c. Setting the same fees and commission splits as a competitor through a formal agreement
d. a. and c.
e. All of the above
f. None of the above

2. Firms and agents within the same city can charge the same commission rate as long as:

a. They discussed the terms with each other informally
b. They arrived at the figure independently of each other
c. They can’t; having the same rate is always an antitrust violation

3. True or false? A broker can be liable for antitrust violations by one of her agents even if the broker was unaware of the violation.

4. If you are present during a discussion that seems like a possible antitrust violation, you should:
a. Leave quickly and quietly
b. Leave the meeting, but interrupt the discussion and say why
c. Place your hands over your ears

5. True or false? Two agents within the same brokerage can charge different commissions if their broker allows it.

6. Which of the following statements should you avoid?
a. "This is a standard rate."
b. "I refuse to lower my commission."
c. "Most agents charge this."


1. e.
2. b. Even informal discussions can become the basis for an antitrust violation. 
3. True. 
4. b. In a formal meeting you should also ask that the reason you’re leaving be noted in the minutes. 
5. True. 
6. a. and c.

This quiz originally appeared in the December issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine. View the digital issue here.

Categories: Legal
Tags: quiz, antitrust


David Davis on 01/27/2016

@Gayla I think I get your point.  The old Insurance Adjuster part of me which is part risk management takes your side here.  No one wants to go down with a sinking ship.  Exposure is risk.  No one in their right mind can argue that point.  I guess the “flip side of the coin” or the “do the right thing” part, you know what we call the “Code of Ethics” says maybe try to right the wrong by using prevention rather than cure?  However, since we seem to be talking about question 4 above I am going to “side” with the author this time.  Leave the meeting as soon as the issue come up, but say why, and if in a formal meeting, have your excusal and cause placed into the minutes of the meeting.

Gayla Leary on 01/21/2016

@David Davis , it was a question.  Even if we open ourselves up to a simple question such as “why"are we contributing to the act?

David Davis on 01/21/2016

@Gayla, I’m not sure I understand your question/comment.  Are you asking us a question or trying to make a point?  If so, what point?  If you’re directing your response at the author of the original post I think the whole idea here is to get us as REALTORs to avoid being caught-up in such anti trust acts.  You know as well as I do, who the public is always going to blame “that rich REALTOR”.  Consider this an ounce of prevention as opposed to a pound of cure.  CYA.  Either Cover Your Assets or Call Your Attorney!

Gayla Leary on 01/21/2016

If you were in a place where there was a possible antitrust violation,  why would you stay and ask why?  Would that not be adding to the discussion?

Gerald Waldon on 01/12/2016

Thanks, David. I now see it is correct. I read the question too fast and was thinking what would constitute antitrust. Reminds me of the license test years ago, where you better read the questions carefully.

David Davis on 01/12/2016

The answer to 2 wouldn’t be anything other than b.

Gerald Waldon on 01/12/2016

I think the answer to 2 was a not b. Part of the answer even refers to informal discussion between broker. Please let me know if the answer is actually b. Thanks.

David Davis on 01/12/2016

1 has no c.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

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