The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched an investigation into price-fixing agreements between consumer-goods manufacturers and retailers (including online retailers). ACM is suspecting that some consumer-goods manufacturers are trying to conclude minimum-price agreements with retailers for their products. As part of this investigation, ACM has conducted dawn raids at various firms.
Price-fixing agreements harm consumers
Price-fixing agreements between manufacturers and retailers about minimum prices are prohibited. Such agreements prevent retailers from setting their own prices. This would lead to reduced competition between the various retailers. And that would eventually result in consumers paying a higher price for their products.
What are the next steps in the investigation?
Over the next few months, ACM will assess whether the Dutch Competition Act has indeed been violated. ACM may come to the conclusion that the law has not been violated. However, if ACM does find that the law has been violated, the businesses involved will have the opportunity to tell their side of the story before ACM can impose any sanctions.
Please report any illegal agreements to ACM
Do you work in a sector where consumer goods are sold? Do you have any indications that businesses and retailers in your sector have concluded illegal agreements (or are in the process thereof)? Or would you like to know what type of conduct is allowed? Please contact ACM.
Do you work in such sectors, and you wish to remain anonymous? Please find out more about how to submit tip-offs anonymously.