(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today reminded local entities that his Office's Partnership for Competitive Purchasing is available to help ensure that local governments and other public entities are not victims of illegal pricing schemes for the goods and services they purchase.
"We want to help local governments ensure that they are getting the best price for the items they purchase," said Attorney General DeWine. "Whether in challenging economic times, or when the economy is booming, schemes designed to gouge government, and taxpayers, are unacceptable and illegal."
Public entities buy a wide range of goods and services, from copy paper to police cars. With the expertise of the Attorney General's Office Antitrust Section, local governments, public schools, and others can greatly reduce the chances of paying too much for the goods and services they purchase by joining the Partnership for Competitive Purchasing, formerly referred to as the Antitrust Review Program.
On a periodic basis, one of the entities registered for the free program is selected for assistance. This includes an on-site visit to examine bid documents and purchase records for certain products or services that the entity purchases. The Attorney General's staff will also share tips and advice on avoiding problems from unscrupulous vendors in the future. If the review indicates possible problems, a formal investigation of the vendors involved will be considered.
Warning signs of price scheming include:
- Prices that, for no apparent reason, are very different from those elsewhere
- Similar price increases announced at the same time
- Unusually few competitors submit bids
- A bid much higher than published price lists or a previous bid by the same company
"Our reviews are not audits or judgments of the program partners," Attorney General DeWine said. "We simply analyze bids for anti-competitive activity."
Cities, counties, and other public entities can join the Partnership for Competitive Purchasing by visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/CompetitivePurchasing, or by calling 614-466-4328.
Dan Tierney -- 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti -- 614-466-3840