In the United States, our free markets set prices for goods and services. Consumers benefit from how market competition enables lowered prices and improved product quality. Competition also keeps businesses on their toes, encouraging them to innovate and create new products.
Sometimes, a single business or two gains control of the entire market for a product or service and takes anticompetitive steps to benefit at consumers’ expense. They might collude to set prices higher than they’d ordinarily be, or they might tie products together so that consumers have to buy Product B even if they want only Product A.
The most common consumer harms of such anticompetitive conduct are higher prices, reduced output, and stagnant or lower-quality products.
To prevent or remedy these harms, we have antitrust law. Our enforcement agencies focus on restoring competition in the market so that prices, quality, and innovation reflect the market’s actual dynamics, not a monopolist’s corrupted market.