Minneapolis is working with small businesses, both new and established, to help them prosper in the Twin Cities. Recently, the city opened a small business “navigator” office. The office helps navigate city business regulations, and works to coach businesses to success. There are several laws that are written to help small businesses compete in a fair and equable way. These laws are geared toward keeping the business environment fair for all, and often protect smaller businesses from aggressive business practices implemented by other businesses.
Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practice
The Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practice law helps protect small businesses by outlining specific business practices that can create an unfair business environment. The law is based on the 1964 Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), which was revisited in 1966. The Minnesota law prohibits monopolies on food items, tampering with car mileage, under-selling competitors with below cost prices, misleading customers regarding product ingredients or origin of the product, conspiracies with other businesses to restrain trade, and unfair cigarette prices.
This law helps small businesses create a trusted environment with their customers, and protects them from other aggressive business practices. By prohibiting monopolies, the law creates an opportunity for a fair, competitive market that encourages businesses to thrive. It keeps competitors from under-cutting prices, cutting corners with product details, and manipulating the market to their advantage.
The Minnesota Antitrust Law of 1971
The Minnesota Antitrust Law of 1971 protects small businesses from larger companies creating monopolies or virtual monopolies, and making the business environment unfriendly toward smaller businesses. This act includes provisions for price fixing, collusion, monopolistic behaviors, discriminatory agreements or acts towards other businesses, and unreasonable restraint on commerce or trade. This law helps small businesses compete within the business community in a fair and just manner. It allows businesses to protect themselves from predatory practices of other businesses through the justice system.
This law protects small businesses from being squeezed out of the market through unfair business practices. It gives legal means to block business mergers or buy-outs, if it will create a monopoly in the market place. It encourages a healthy market place by guaranteeing eliminating manipulation of pricing or the flow of business.
The Minnesota Civil Statute of Limitations Law
The Minnesota Civil Statute of Limitations Law protects small businesses from the possibility of unending threats of legal action against them for personal injury, libel or slander, professional malpractice, fraud, trespass, contracts, judgments and injury to personal property. The law is designed to keep the integrity of witness testimony and physical evidence. The statue of limitation varies for each situation from two to ten years.
This law gives clear guidelines for legal action against a small business for damages due to services rendered. It allows for a fair, and just legal responsibility for the events in question. There is an end date at which action can be taken, thus reducing the threat of on-going financial or legal matters.
Minnesota Interest Rate Laws
The Minnesota Interest Rate Laws, also known as Usury laws, protect small businesses from predatory loan practices. Interest rates on loans is specified in this law, for both loans and contracts. There are several exempt institutions and situations to these laws. Exempt institutions include state banks and credit unions, loans secured by a savings account, and dealers under the SEC Act. Other exceptions are mortgage, business and agriculture loans.
This law protects against manipulation of the loan market or of customers through limiting interest rates. It is designed to keep consistent business practices, and increase consumer trust in the market place.
This article was written by Karen Ulvestad for CBS Small Business Pulse.