Last month, the CMA called for more whistle-blowers to expose business cartels with the launch of a national awareness campaign.
It comes as new research shows many firms don’t know enough about how to comply with competition law.
The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) latest cartel awareness campaign aims to educate businesses about which practices are illegal and urges people to come forward if they suspect a business has taken part in cartel behaviour, such as fixing prices or rigging contracts.
ICM research released by the CMA today to coincide with the campaign shows that out of amongst 1,000 companies surveyed:
- Only 57% knew it was illegal to fix prices
- Nearly half either didn’t know or thought it was legal to discuss prices with competing bidders when quoting for new work (23% said ‘don’t know’, and 25% actually thought it was legal).
- Significantly more than half (59%) didn’t know or thought that dividing up and sharing customers with rivals was legal (24% said ‘don’t know’ and 35% actually thought it was legal).
Howard Cartlidge, Senior Director of Cartels at the CMA, said:
“Businesses that fix prices or rig contracts are breaking the law and ripping people off.
“The victims are customers and other businesses, who are getting cheated out of a fair deal.
“We know that the vast majority of businesses want to do the right thing, but pleading ignorance simply isn’t good enough. Today’s campaign makes it easy to find out the facts.
“If you know of something illegal – do the right thing and tell us about it.”
The campaign is targeting industries including construction, manufacturing, recruitment, estate agents and property managers.