Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Refusal to Sell


Vernon A. Mund

First Page



Today, the business practice of refusal to sell is one of the principal antitrust complaints. However, paradoxically, it is a complaint which receives practically the least amount of attention and relief. Typically, the antitrust agencies treat reports on refusal to sell with the generalized reply that "the seller has the right to choose his own customers." The very number of complaints, however, as well as an economic analysis of the practice itself, points to the need for a reevaluation of this business practice and for a reappraisal of the currently applicable judicial decisions.

As we shall see in the present study, the evidence on refusal to sell indicates that the practice exists mainly as a feature of our "big business" economy in which large corporations controlling a substantial part of the supply of certain goods are able to gain by refusing to sell to some buyers. To the extent that our business structure is not modified by dissolution, divorcement, and divestiture proceedings, it is possible that public policy will move more and more in the direction of scrutinizing and regulating this present-day business conduct in the public interest. Increasingly, therefore, it is suggested, attention will center on the economic problem of refusal to sell.