Drug Testing Company Settles FTC Collusion Complaint
An Idaho-based company that provides services to commercial trucking companies and their drivers has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it illegally invited one of its competitors to enter into a customer allocation agreement.
If finalized, the settlement would bar Drug Testing Compliance Group (DTC) from communicating with competitors about rates or prices. The company offers drug testing and other services to trucking companies.
In its complaint the FTC alleges that in 2014, DTC Group's President, David Crossett, complained to a competitor – Competitor A – that its salespeople had persuaded a DTC Group customer to switch service providers. According to the complaint, Crossett then met with the principals of Competitor A and proposed that the companies agree not to solicit or compete for each other's customers. Specifically, Crossett proposed that DTC Group and Competitor A should both agree not to sell or attempt to sell a service to a customer if the other company has already sold the same service to that customer. Crossett informed Competitor A that such an agreement would allow each company to sell its services to customers without fearing that its rival would later undercut it with a lower price offer.
The proposed settlement prohibits DTC Group from communicating with competitors about rates or prices (although it does not bar public posting of rates). The settlement also prohibits the company from soliciting, entering into, or maintaining an agreement with any competitor to divide markets, allocate customers, or fix prices; and from urging any competitor to raise, fix, or maintain prices, or to limit or reduce service.