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NMa: End to Recommended Prices Hairdressers' Organisation

The Director-General of the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has decided that the umbrella organisation of hairdressers, Koninklijke Algemene Nederlandse Kappersorganisatie ANKO [Royal Dutch Hairdressers Association] must cease issuing recommended prices to its members. Price agreements, even if presented as recommended prices, are prohibited under the Competition Act since they limit competition. In its decision, NMa has ruled that ANKO may no longer adhere to these practices. NMa has decided not to impose a fine.

In June 2001, NMa drew up a report on ANKO, due to the fact that it called upon its members to increase their tariffs by an average of 5% as of the beginning of 2001 since, by doing so, ANKO had coordinated the pricing practices of its members. Following this decision, ANKO gave NMa insight into how it informs its members with regard to the setting of prices. From this it appeared that ANKO also presented profit mark-ups and a table for making calculations. In addition, ANKO encouraged hairdressers to pass on all cost increases in their prices. These practices limit competition because they remove the incentive for hairdressers to compete with each other by charging lower prices.

In its decision, NMa has ruled that ANKO must cease these practices immediately and must advise its members explicitly to set their own individual prices on the basis of their own costs. As of today ANKO will abide by the Competition Act with regard to the information it issues to its members. NMa has decided not to impose a fine. ANKO has amended its practices to comply with the Competition Act and has made commitments which clearly go further than redressing the original infringement that was ascertained. The decision makes clear to ANKO and other branches what information branch organisations may provide their members with without contravening the Competition Act. This was also set out earlier in the document Richtsnoeren samenwerking bedrijven [Guidelines Co-operation between Companies].