Regulation of Business – Robinson-Patman Act – Injury to Competition Between Buyers of Auto Parts

Petitioner manufactured and sold automobile parts to distributors who resold them to jobbers in interstate commerce. The products were classified into three lines: leaf spring line, coil action line, and piston ring line. A progressive, cumulative discount was given in each line, based upon the aggregate yearly purchases of either a single buyer or a group-buying organization. The Federal Trade Commission charged petitioner with price discrimination in violation of the Robinson-Patman Act. Every customer who testified at the hearing denied that he had been injured competitively by the petitioner’s pricing practices. Nevertheless, in view of the substantial price differentials, the small margin of profit and the highly competitive nature of the trade, the commission ruled that the effect of petitioner’s pricing policies may be substantially to lessen, injure, destroy or prevent competition between customers of the petitioner. On appeal, held, affirmed. There was substantial evidence from which the commission could properly infer the requisite injury to competition notwithstanding direct testimony to the contrary. Moog Industries v. Federal Trade Commission, (8th Cir. 1956) 238 F. (2d) 43.a