ACM launches offensive against illegal cartel agreements
“Cartels never go unnoticed.”
There are always people who know about illegal agreements between competitors. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will be running a campaign over the next few weeks to make people aware of cartel agreements. ACM calls on everyone to report any suspicions they might have about potential cartels.
Cartels are illegal agreements between businesses in order to eliminate the competition. For example, they could agree on raising prices or on sharing the market. In most cases, prices of products and services go up by at least 15 percent as a result of cartels. ACM tracks down cartels, ends illegal agreements, and can impose hefty fines on the businesses and individuals involved. These fines can amount to tens of millions of euros per business involved, and, from July 1, the fines on individuals can be as high as EUR 900,000.
Cartel agreements are daylight robbery. They erode a healthy, competitive economy, and they undermine public confidence in business. We are calling on everyone to track down cartels together.
ACM campaign: “Cartels never go unnoticed”
- Video (mp4, 2:02 min, 41.756 KB)
ACM has launched this campaign to educate members of the public about cartels, and to raise awareness: “Cartels never go unnoticed.” Cartel agreements are concluded by real, actual people. Examples from recent cases include:
- email conversations such as ‘The aim should be to raise tariffs.’
- Or: ‘An increase of x% is considered necessary by both firms.’
- One quote from a manager in a meeting between competing firms speaks for itself: ‘Our competitors are our friends, our customers are our enemies’.
So there are always people who know about these illegal agreements, and who have the opportunity to report those to ACM in confidence.
With this unique campaign, we target the most vulnerable link of cartels: the people close to the cartel, who know or hear about it, or who need to carry it out.
Over the next few weeks, ACM will distribute information in various ways, and it invites everyone to submit any tip-offs. The campaign kicks off with a video that puts a humorous spin on ACM’s investigation methods, while carrying a very serious message: tip us off about illegal agreements. A lot of information about cartels can be found on ACM’s website. It also contains information about how to submit tip-offs. In addition, ACM created a so-called ‘cartel check,’ with which people are able to learn more about cartels. ACM will also approach individuals directly on social media, providing them with information about cartels.