I thought this might be of interest to readers and/or to pass on to clients. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) just published a case study of their investigation of a real estate against cartel in the UK (here). Below are the lessons learned section of the study:
What are the lessons?
Be careful when talking business with your competitors – make sure you don’t agree not to compete with each other.
Be especially wary of any conversations about pricing, or about a shared approach to pricing. Each business must set and decide its prices independently.
Competition law applies to small businesses as well as large ones. The estate agents in this case were small local or regional businesses.
The consequences of breaking competition law can be severe; fines can be as much as 10% of a business’ global turnover and a director can be banned from being a director of a company, or being involved in the promotion, formation or management of one, for up to 15 years. In the most serious cases, individuals can go to prison for up to 5 years. [In the United States the maximum prison sentence is 10 years.]
Competition law applies to all industries and the CMA will take action against those breaking the law.
The Somerset estate agents’ cartel is the second recent enforcement case the CMA has taken in the property sector. The CMA remains committed to tackling illegal anti-competitive conduct in the sector.
You can subscribe to the CMS for email updates (here).
Thanks for reading.