Plaintiff state filed criminal charges and civil complaint alleging scheme by which automobile body repair shops in the Winona, Minnesota, area could effectively eliminate competition for their services by agreeing to provide two repair estimates to customers. They did so by a practice of exchanging blank estimate pads with each other, and allowing each other to write or obtain false ‘courtesy’ estimates (quoting a higher price) on their competitors’ estimate
forms, the complaint alleged. According to the complaints, the defendants were able
to decrease price competition among themselves, and control and maintain the market price of auto body repair work at higher than normal levels. Each defendant agreed to pay $25,000 to settle civil antitrust claims of price fixing brought by the state. The dealers also plead guilty to the crime
of gross misdemeanor theft by false representation and were fined $500 each.