Mercedes-Benz in serious price fixing allegations

Mercedes-Benz has been accused of working illegally with five of their dealerships and is currently under investigation of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). In effect Mercedes-Benz may have broken the rules of competition law.

The price fixing allegations come between the years 2007 – 2010 with specific dealers and Mercedes-Benz also accused of sharing commercially sensitive information between these periods.  The dealerships involved are based in Northern England, Wales and Scotland.

OFT released an official statement “The precise content of the arrangements differs among the five alleged infringements, but all contain, to varying degrees, at least some element of market sharing, price co-ordination and/or exchange of commercially sensitive information.  Evidence also suggests that, in respect of two of the alleged infringements, Mercedes-Benz helped to facilitate or consolidate the arrangements amongst the dealers.”

All parties involved will get the chance to answer these allegations. At the moment the case states the findings are only provisional at this stage.

The watchdog added that the findings were provisional and that the parties would have a chance to respond before it decided whether competition law had been infringed.

Mercedes-Benz have already had their say on the matter, with them offering full co-operation with the OFT. “We now have detailed information about the investigation of the OFT for the first time. We will analyse the information and then give our feedback to the OFT. We cannot comment further in an ongoing procedure, and we will continue to co-operate with the authorities.”

Consumer confidence is slowly getting better in the UK with car sales up by 7.9 per cent in May. The figures released by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that the nation is defying the Euro Zone crisis.

Mercedes-Benz themselves saw sales increase by 4 per cent in May when compared to May 2011 worldwide. It has been a rollercoaster ride for the German luxury car company this year with sales dipping by 3.6 per cent in April. Sales in China had a lot to do with the increase in Mercedes-Benz sales.

The news will not bode well for Mercedes-Benz here in the UK. They are currently facing a fierce battle to topple BMW and keep Audi at bay. Some owners may think that they have been hard done if the allegations turn out to be proven that Mercedes-Benz was in the wrong.

 

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