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ACM warns about illegal cartel agreements

18-05-2017

‘Cartels never go unnoticed.’ There are always people who know about illegal agreements between competitors. If you know of the existence of an illegal cartel agreement, or if you suspect one exists, please contact the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Please report cartels or submit your tip-offs to ACM. More information can be found on the special campaign website www.acm.nl/kartels (in Dutch).

Michiel Denkers, Director of ACM’s Competition Department, explains: “Cartel agreements are bad for the economy. They lead to higher prices and reduced quality, and they limit innovation. They also hurt consumer confidence in businesses. That is why it is important that we track down cartels. And everyone can help us by submitting their tip-offs.’

Cartels never go unnoticed

The anti-cartel campaign ‘Cartels never go unnoticed’ features a video that puts a humorous spin on ACM’s investigation methods. In a follow-up video, Mr. Denkers explains what ACM does with your tip-offs and reports. Furthermore, ACM uses social media to contact employees and executives in order to draw their attention to competition rules.

In addition to educating consumers and businesses, ACM takes enforcement actions against cartels. ACM is currently conducting various investigations into possible violations of the Dutch Competition Act. ACM can impose fines on businesses that do not play by the rules.

What are cartels?

Cartels are illegal agreements between competitors in order to restrict mutual competition. There are four basic rules. Competitors are not allowed:

  • To conclude price-fixing agreements;
  • To share the market;
  • To exchange competition-sensitive information;
  • To make arrangements about bids and tender processes (bid-rigging).

Cartels usually lead to price increases of 15 percent or more. At the end of the day, cartels hurt consumers.