Expert legal advice from the competition lawyers

Berkshire residential estate agents competition case

First published by Matt on February 12, 2020 in the following categories: Cartels Latest Price Fixing Price Hikes Pricing and tagged with | | | | |

estate agents guilty of price fixing

Here’s the latest news involving the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into alleged competition infringements involving Berkshire residential estate agents.

The investigation was launched in early 2018 on the basis that the CMA suspected that there may be infringements of important competition law. In June last year, the CMA issued a formal statement of objections to four estate agents with allegations of breaches, and a settlement was reached with two agents in October. More fines were then issued at the end of last year.

In the often-volatile property market, competition law breaches that leave buyers and sellers paying more simply cannot go unpunished.

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CMA issue substantial Fender competition breach fine

First published by Matt on January 30, 2020 in the following categories: Price Fixing Price Hikes Pricing Selling Restrictions and tagged with | | |

musical instruments investigation

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a substantial Fender competition breach fine in the sum of £4.5m.

The fine has been issued almost two years after an investigation into the prominent guitar maker was opened. In its ruling, the CMA has confirmed that Fender has admitted to breaking competition law by restricting prices for UK retailers. The fine that has been issued is therefore subject to the CMA’s leniency and cooperation protocols, which can see penalties reduced.

This is a key ruling given the size of this growing market and the fact that Fender is one of the major players in the sector.

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Roll-over contracts for online gaming investigation

First published by Matt on January 15, 2020 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Investigations and tagged with | | | |

Online Gaming

Last April, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) initiated an investigation into roll-over contracts for online gaming.

The online gaming sector has grown exponentially in recent years, with at least one console a staple in most modern houses these days, I would assume. The monetisation of online gaming has led to more purchase options for the consumer, so the costs of being involved in online gaming is something that should be carefully considered.

In the same way that the CMA has been looking into contract factors for things like broadband and telecommunications, they’re also keen to know if the online gaming sector is being fair. As this is just the initial investigation stage, no assumptions are being made as to whether important laws are being broken or not.

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Latest in the funeral directors market investigation

First published by Matt on January 02, 2020 in the following categories: Industry Investigations and tagged with | | |

cma auction investigation

The funeral directors market investigation that’s being conducted by the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) remains ongoing.

In terms of the latest happenings and goings on, here’s a brief update based on information from the CMA about the progress of their important work in this sector.

It goes without saying that this is another important investigation for the competition regulator. People are in obvious need of funeral and crematorium services, and the need for such services will likely increase with population growth.

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The musical instruments and equipment investigation

First published by Matt on December 20, 2019 in the following categories: Industry Investigations Latest and tagged with | | |

guitar music MJ own

The musical instruments and equipment investigation is a matter that’s currently being conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The market for musical equipment and instruments has grown exponentially in recent decades. There’s now far greater access to instruments at more affordable prices, and the materials available online for people to learn to play are vast. So many youngsters want to be in bands, and it’s great that there’s such an appetite for musical creativity.

But the CMA has been looking into another side of the sector, and it’s one where foul play is being suspected.

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Provisional finding in drug price hikes case

First published by Matt on December 04, 2019 in the following categories: Healthcare Investigations Price Hikes and tagged with | | | | |

Pharmaceutical abuse

The UK’s competition regulator has made a provisional finding in the longstanding investigation into drug price hikes, and the outcome is damning.

Issues surrounding pharmaceutical competition breaches are numerous and serious. At the end of the day, the consumer in these cases is patients and the NHS; that’s our tax money.

Any infringement of vital competition laws when it comes to medical matters should always lead to significant punishments, and the work of the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) in this area is incredibly important. The provisional finding in this matter accompanies an admission from one of the companies involved as well.

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More time allowed in the supply of groundworks investigation

First published by Matt on November 20, 2019 in the following categories: Industry Market Sharing Price Fixing Pricing and tagged with | | |

construction

More time has been allowed for representations to be made in the supply of groundworks investigation that’s currently being undertaken by the UK’s competition regulator.

The CMA (Compensation  and Markets Authority) issued their statement of objections back in April 2019 and announced their provisional findings. The CMA confirmed that they suspect there are three suppliers who are engaging in behaviour that may distort competition in the market. Until final determinations are made, these are just allegations at this stage.

Notably, the CMA decided to continue with their investigations, so we assume that they must believe that there is some evidence to support their allegations.

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Most favoured nation clauses in price comparison websites sector

First published by Matt on November 05, 2019 in the following categories: Advertising Consumer Law Industry Pricing Selling Restrictions and tagged with | | | | |

online advertising

As it has been a while since we looked at this one, here’s the latest in the investigation into alleged most favoured nation clauses in the price comparison website sector.

The investigation that’s being carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is over the alleged use of such clauses for price comparison websites in relation to insurance products. The term “most favoured nation” originates from international trade agreements, whereby more favourable trade terms have been used between countries who favour each other more. In terms of competition law, it’s about contractual provisions whereby a seller may provide their best terms specifically to a particular buyer.

Such behaviour can restrict and distort competition, which is why it’s important for the CMA to look into it.

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Precast concrete drainage products supply investigation: latest

First published by Matt on October 31, 2019 in the following categories: Cartels Market Sharing Price Fixing and tagged with | | | | | | |

contruction and concrete

The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has issued an update in the investigation into the supply of precast concrete drainage products.

The civil investigation has been ongoing since 2016 and a number of actions and steps have been taken in the three years since it was commenced.

This month, an important development has been announced which involves fines in the tens of millions for companies who have reportedly been engaging in cartel behaviour for a number of years.

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Regulators target fake and misleading online reviews

First published by Matt on October 23, 2019 in the following categories: Advertising Consumer Law and tagged with | | | | |

The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) is targeting fake and misleading online reviews because of the unfair impact it can have on competition within markets.

Nowadays, where most things can be bought and sold online, so can testimonials for products and services, and it’s this practice that the CMA’s aiming to stop. With how much influence the statements of other customers can have when it’s never been easier to shop around quickly, it seems that some companies are prepared to try and influence consumer choice with the power of fake reviews.

At the same time, it can be just as easy for someone to pay for bad reviews to hit one of their competitors as well.

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