A state law that prevents businesses from selling goods at below wholesale prices is facing a legal challenge.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is representing the Krist Oil Company in a challenge of the state’s minimum markup law, which stops businesses from charging a price less than what they paid for most goods and requires that gas, alcohol, and tobacco products be sold at above cost. Critics of the law claim it violates free market principles by forcing consumers to pay more than the competitive price, while its defenders argue it protects smaller businesses from being priced out by larger competitors.
WILL general counsel Rick Essenberg said the law is based upon an “antiquated economic theory,” and that consumers are already protected by state anti-trust laws. “The notion that consumers are somehow served by paying prices that are higher than they otherwise would have to pay is simply implausible,” Essenberg argued during a call with reporters Tuesday.
The law was previously struck down by a federal court, but was later reinstated on appeal. The latest challenge was filed Monday in Vilas County court.
A spokesman with the state Department of Justice says they agency is reviewing the lawsuit.