October 12, 2001
Hon. Timothy J. Muris, Chairman
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20580
Dear Chairman Muris:
The Commission should take action to protect the public from the ongoing, continuing and harmful violations of the Federal Trade laws by the Publix Corporation, 1936 George Jenkins Blvd, P.O. Box 407, Lakeland, FL 33802-0407.
Anticompetitive actions: price-fixing, price gouging, price-collusion, frequent and ongoing deception of consumers. The perpetrator, Publix, exerts its market control at over 230 locations. In the areas where the perpetrator operates, consumers are often excluded from competitive markets, goods, and services while would-be competitors are muscled out of the areas. The perpetrator firm has acquired market domination amounting to monopoly in many neighborhoods and areas of the southeastern United States.
The perpetrator, Publix, is responsible for systematically defrauding consumers by price switching at the cash register, deceiving consumers in shelving areas, and exploiting senior citizens unable to read tiny OCR price labels on the distant bottom and top shelves.
The process of switching prices against consumers is particularly detrimental to the elderly, the vision-impaired, those with poor memory, and the handicapped - people who may be unable to read an electronic cash register display (showing the prices actually being rung up) or consumers may be unable to crawl on the floor to read the Publix price labels on the lowest shelves.
Mr. Chairman, the perpetrator has imposed a far more wide ranging system of market dominance and control over local prices than did the Von's Supermarkets. In the Von's cases, the Commission acted vigorously to protect the public from practices. I look forward to the Commission carrying out its responsibilities promptly and effectively.
North Palm Beach, Florida
Senior Economist (GS-15),
Interstate Commerce Commission, ret.