Saturday 23 February 2013

Mercedes-Benz and the OFT Cross Paths

Commercial and van leasing companies, along with dealers and manufacturers  have in no uncertain terms been given a very serious message by the Office of Fair trading.
Three Dealers, along with Mercedes Benz, have been fined £2.6 million by OFT .

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

Mercedes Benz and three of its dealers have agreed to pay the total of £2.6 million in fines after an investigation that has taken 10 months.  A fourth dealer that came forward about the isssue, will avoid fines.

It appears that the dealers, along with Mercedes Benz, agreed to stick to pricing structures with fix discount levels and also allocated areas of responsibilty in several areas of the UK, including the North West. Although not all of the dealers were involved in all of the infringements, the element of cross over between them has led to the OFT investigating the whole as one.

One of the OFT senior directors and head of cartels said “The OFT will always take firm action against colluding companies to deny customers the benefit of fair competition.”

In essence, dealers are not allowed to fix prices or services in order to maintain profit levels.  At any moment in time, there should be no collusion between separate businesses.

Mercedes Benz UK has been fined £1,492,646. The three dealers involved have been fined varying amounts. Car manufacturers, and car leasing companies (including CarLease UK) have to take note of this sort of behaviour. In no uncertain terms is it possible (or legitimate) to engage in price-fixing or price-controlling activities.

The Mercedes-Benz ML

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