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Netherlands investigates possible cartel in home decor sector

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 21, 2020
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is conducting an investigation into a possible cartel in the home decor sector.
Netherlands street shop
Home decor sector   Netherlands street shop
As part of that investigation, ACM conducted several dawn raids at various businesses earlier last week. ACM suspects that a number of suppliers instruct retailers what prices they should charge their customers for their products.

Topics: Netherlands

Furthermore, ACM suspects that these suppliers have also concluded illegal agreements among each other about the prices that they charge these retailers.

Competitors cannot conclude any price-fixing agreements among each other about the prices they charge for their products or services. Merely talking to competitors about future prices and expected price trends is prohibited, because this, too, will reduce competition among competitors.

If competition is reduced, prices will go up. Imposing fixed or minimum retail prices on retailers is also prohibited because this has the effect of pushing up prices. Retailers must be able to set their own retail prices completely independently, while ensuring healthy competition with other retailers. Price-fixing agreements harm consumers.

Over the next few months, ACM will assess whether competition rules have indeed been violated. ACM may come to the conclusion that the rules have not been violated. In that case, the investigation will be terminated. If ACM does establish a violation, it may result in sanctions such as fines.