The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a warning to Scottish businesses with a new campaign, which asks firms if they are “Cheating or Competing?”
The launch comes after a sustained crackdown throughout the UK against illegal cartels by the CMA, which issued over £43 million (US$55.5 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 UK-wide 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 research goes on to show that only 6% of management teams of the construction firms surveyed had received competition law training. Additionally, only 6% of the respondents had actively sought out information on how to comply with the law.
Sheila Scobie, Director for Scotland, said, “We’re cracking down on businesses who collude to rip off customers by fixing prices, sharing out markets amongst themselves or rigging bids. We know cheating when we see it, even if you don’t and pleading ignorance is no defence. Businesses need to know what these unfair practices look like and make sure they avoid them.”
Full Content: Gov UK
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