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Spain: Gas Natural fined over unfair competition; misleading customers

 |  March 29, 2016

The Supreme Tribunal of Spain’s competition authority has issued a 2.6 million euro fine on natural gas company ‘Gas Natural’, determining it purposely sowed doubts among its clients over the competition’s legal overtures and offers. The company warned customers to take vague “precautions” through a series of letters sent by the company between May and September 2009. This was during a period of rapid liberalization in Spain’s energy sector which saw Gas Natural’s customer base shrink.

The letter, as written, clearly referred to competing company’s salesmen, who would attempt to convince customers to switch gas companies. The letter “urged their customers not to trust these agents or the offers made, insinuating a lack of seriousness and potential fraud in these offers”

Because of the above, “The behavior analyzed here discredited the competition’s actions, meant to convince customers to switch energy companies, by spreading inaccurate information and affecting the public interest as represented by the liberalization of a basic product, with measurable effects on the market.” These actions, the court found, are in violation of Spain’s competition laws.

Full Content: El Mundo

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