“Not me” consumer justifications for not reporting suspected price-fixing activities: Neutralization techniques & counterstrategies

Phoebe Wong*, Markus Vanharanta, Calvin Wan, Man Fung Lo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Price-fixing, an anti-competitive activity by firms, raises consumer prices, limits consumer choices, and violates the law. Drawing on the neutralization theory, this study aims to investigate consumer participation in anti-price-fixing efforts. This is important as the government's strategy of combating price-fixing often relies on tip-offs from the public. Accordingly, this study examines consumer willingness to come forward to file a complaint of suspected price-fixing cases to authorities and the justifications provided by participants for their reluctance. Focus group interviews were conducted with twenty-three participants. The findings revealed that although the participants agreed that price-fixing is unethical and unjust, they were reluctant to file a complaint to report suspected price-fixing activities to authorities. This study makes theoretical contributions to uncover five neutralization techniques used by the participants to reconcile their negative feelings. Three new counterstrategies have not been explored or discussed in previous studies. This contributes to a new line of inquiry about consumer responses to price-fixing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1509-1524
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Volume22
Issue number6
Early online date29 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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