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OFT fines Mercedes-Benz and three dealers

Watchdog says move sends “clear signal” about protecting fair competition

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has fined global auto giant Mercedes-Benz and its three commercial vehicle dealers a total of £2.6 million for breaching UK competition law.

In a statement, the fair trading watchdog said Mercedes-Benz and the three dealers (named as Ciceley, Road Range and Enza) had admitted infringing the competition law pertaining to the distribution of commercial vans and trucks between 2008 and 2010.

Northside, another dealer, was not fined after giving evidence in return for immunity. The OFT said all parties concerned were involved with infringements of a different nature, including, but not limited to market sharing, price co-ordination, or exchange of commercially sensitive information.

The imposed fine had been cut by 15 percent as the parties concerned had admitted to breaching competition law.

Ali Nikpay, OFT’s senior director of cartels, said, "These cases send a clear signal that the OFT will take firm action against companies that collude to deny customers the benefit of fair competition regardless of the size of the firms involved or geographic scope of the investigation."

"These examples also underline that the OFT can uncover cartels even in cases where the businesses involved do not blow the whistle, as well as being a concrete illustration of the benefits of businesses acting quickly and co-operating at the earliest opportunity so as to qualify for immunity from fines," Nikpay added.


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