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Silicone Wristband, Lanyard, and Button Antitrust Class Action

When we think of antitrust cases, we tend to think of large enterprises like steel mills, with powerful owners and high-value industries, or commodities that everyone needs. The complaint for this class action, however, alleges antitrust price-fixing in the business of selling and customizing the silicone wristbands for our favorite charities, the lanyards from which we hang our IDs and keys, and the pin buttons touting slogans or political candidates. In fact, according to the complaint, the market for these custom promotional products in the US is a $22.9 billion industry.

The class for this action is all persons or entities in the US who bought customized silicone wristbands, customized lanyards, and/or customized pin buttons within the US directly from one or more of the defendants or any of their predecessors, subsidiaries, or affiliates, between June 1, 2014 and the present.

The defendants in the case include four companies and two individuals:

  • Zaappaaz, Inc., doing business as WB Promotions, Inc., Wrist-band.com, Customlanyard.net;
  • Zaappaaz’s president Azim Makanojiya;
  • Netbrands Media Corp., doing business as 24hourwristbands.com, and imprint.com (formerly known as Lightbeam Inc.);
  • Gennex Media, LLC, doing business as brandnex.com;
  • Custom Wristbands Inc., doing business as Kulayful Silicone Bracelets, Kulayful.com, Speedywristbands.com, Promotionalbands.com, Wristbandcreation.com, 1inchbracelets.com; and
  • Custom’s owner and CEO Christopher Angeles.

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division has been investigating collusion in the promotional products market and has already obtained guilty pleas from Zaappaaz and Makanojiya and Custom and Angeles.

According to the complaint, most ordering of customized products is done online, making it easy for consumers to compare prices, delivery speed, and other offerings.

The complaint claims that as early as 2014, the defendants decided to speak to each other about pricing, and also speak to competitors they wanted to turn into co-conspirators, through text messages and social media messaging platforms, as well as in person. Some of the defendants created a chat group for the purpose, in which the complaint claims they spoke of wanting to stop undercutting each other, and said that they should work together or “Google will rape us all.”

How did the conspiracy work? The complaint claims that when a new company entered the market, the conspirators would move prices down to meet the prices of the new company for awhile, until they could convince the new company to move its prices up to their price point.

At least three of these competitors reported this to the FBI or Department of Justice, and in June 2016, the FBI raided Zappaaz, Netbrands, and Gennex.

The complaint alleges that the defendants have violated Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in conspiring to fix prices and asks the court for “[c]osts, restitution, damages, and disgorement in an amount to be determined at trial”.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

Silicone Wristband, Lanyard, and Button Antitrust Complaint

November 27, 2017

The complaint for this class action alleges that antitrust price-fixing in the business of selling and customizing the silicone wristbands for our favorite charities, the lanyards from which we hang our IDs and keys, and the pin buttons touting slogans or political candidates. Acording to the complaint, the market for these custom promotional products in US is a $22.9 billion industry. Four of the defendants in this case (two companies and two individuals) have already pleaded guilty in a Department of Justice antitrust case, and this case asks for restitution for the people who have paid higher prices because of the defendants’ behavior. 

silicone_wristband_antitrust_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Silicone Wristband, Lanyard, and Button Antitrust Complaint

November 27, 2017

The complaint for this class action alleges that antitrust price-fixing in the business of selling and customizing the silicone wristbands for our favorite charities, the lanyards from which we hang our IDs and keys, and the pin buttons touting slogans or political candidates. Acording to the complaint, the market for these custom promotional products in US is a $22.9 billion industry. Four of the defendants in this case (two companies and two individuals) have already pleaded guilty in a Department of Justice antitrust case, and this case asks for restitution for the people who have paid higher prices because of the defendants’ behavior. 

silicone_wristband_antitrust_complaint.pdf
Tags: Antitrust, Collusion and Price Fixing