[Market-farming] Re: Prices

jay gee jgj23 at mindspring.com
Thu Jan 9 17:04:35 EST 2003

Liz Pike wrote:

 Fyi, (I've had several private emails already), Patricia was discouraged
 from price discussion by a list member concerned that the FTC would see
 these discussions as "price-fixing". I understand the point, up to a point,

 If the FTC is so concerned over our small part in the retail/ag world, I'll
 gladly bare the brunt.  It might be negative publicity, but I could sure

To Liz and all:

I was the person who contacted Patricia with a message
suggesting that price discussions be conducted off list.

IANAL and  I may be accused of cynicism and paranoia, but
only the former applies, not the latter. 

While one's volunteering what they are getting for a
product in the course of a normal message sequence
is probably nothing to worry about, telling what you are
getting and soliciting information about what others are
getting, in advance of the selling season, or asking what
people are planning to sell for is a whole 'nother subject.

One does not have to fix prices in the marketplace to be
accused and prosecuted for "conspiracy to fix prices,"
which is a serious federal felony.

Agriculture has a long history of price fixing behavior, not only
on a large scale, but locally as well.  Prosecution happens.

Don't be surprised if the FTC and Dept of Ag. use programs to
sift email searching for price related discussions.  That is how
the SEC caught a number of security law violators who thought
they were too small a fish to be troubled with.  Discussion lists
were where they started, followed by search warrant backed
monitoring of all email from likely subjects.  Remember, any
email posted to a discussion list is not private.  And, unless
you use encryption software, regular email is not private either.

I am not trying to run anyone off Liz, but neither do I have any
desire to see someone get prosecuted (or even threatened
with prosecution) for their behavior when a few cautionary
words can be applied.

I doubt if any of you have the resources of an ADM or Cargill
to do battle with a government agency for a protracted period
over a criminal indictment.

Enough said.

jay gee
not a farmer but interested in farming

FYI -- The original off list message to Pat follows:
 PATRICIASHERBS at aol.com wrote:

    So no one is planning now on changing much for 2003?  
  My planned changes so far-  to do local wholesale again,  offer 
 contractor's discounts, double my advertising budget, and improve my signage 
 everywhere on everything.   
    I'm pleased to hear from other plant & herb growers.  I hope we can keep 
 these discussions on going.   What have you found to be the most successful  
 tool/promo on your mailing lists or web sites?    What are your pot prices?

Hi Pat,

Most of the time, prices are not discussed in newsgroups.

Unless cost structures are being analyzed, the Federal
Government (FTC) looks down on price discussions
as possible attempts at price fixing collusion.

If you want to discuss prices with someone, take your
questions off list.  But don't be surprised if people are
unwilling to discuss price, for the reasons mentioned

BTW, some people do discuss price because they
don't know any better, but the more experienced
contributors stay away from it, especially before a
season begins.

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