UK: ‘cheating or competing’ campaign

The CMA understands that most businesses want to do the right thing and the campaign is designed to help them do that and to ensure fair dealing.”

“The CMA has issued a warning to businesses with a new campaign, which asks firms if they are “Cheating or Competing?” The launch comes after a sustained crackdown against illegal cartels by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which issued over £43 million in fines last year alone.

Anti-competitive practices like price fixing, bid rigging and dividing markets or customers between competitors – commonly referred to as market sharing – can take place in any business. However, a number of recent CMA cases have come from the construction industry.

New research, conducted on behalf of the CMA, revealed that only 6% of firms in this sector were familiar with competition law and that general understanding of the illegality of these business practices is low.

29% of those surveyed thought it was OK to attend meetings with competitors to agree prices. A further 32% thought agreeing not to supply each other’s customers was legal, and a quarter (25%) saw no problem with discussing bids and agreeing who would get which tenders.

(…) The CMA understands that most businesses want to do the right thing and the campaign is designed to help them do that and to ensure fair dealing. Putting an end to an illegal cartel means that businesses and customers don’t lose out because others choose to cheat – cheating that comes with serious consequences.

Lifting the lid

Today, the CMA has also lifted the lid and highlighted the secret conversations that take place inside illegal cartels.

(…) One of the individuals at a cartel meeting said: “…I’m quite happy if we agree jobs, because you know, it is pointless cutting the bloody price, we should be sticking out, as we’ve always said, get a better price…”

And another said: “…just set the term deals up, set the … market rates up and the merchants rates up … and the likelihood is you’re going to get the same market share…”

Sources: CMA |Cheating or Competing Campaign | Building.co.uk

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