Legal Basis for Credit Groups

The exchange of factual credit experience information, through a group or by individual competitors, is legal.  In Cement Manufacturers Protective Association vs. United States, 268 U.S. 603 (1925), the Supreme Court held that "the gathering and dissemination of information which will enable sellers to prevent the perpetration of fraud upon them, which information they are free to act upon or not as they choose, cannot be held to be an unlawful restraint upon commerce, even though, in the ordinary course of business, most sellers would act upon the information."

In 1976 , in a case in which it was charged that three companies' credit managers had caused a bankruptcy through the exchange of credit experience information, a U.S. Appeals Court found that each of the three credit executives had made his or her own independent decision to cut off credit.  The court upheld the right of "any individual business to make its own business decisions, providing that it acts independently and not pursuant to an unlawful understanding, tacit or expressed" (Michelman vs . Clark-Schwebel Fiber Glass Corp., et al., 534 F. 2d 1036, 1976).

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