UOKiK files charges against Iveco Poland and 10 other companies for multi-year conspiracy to restrain competition
Topics: IVECO POLAND
President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny initiated antimonopoly proceedings in this case - charges were filed against 11 companies and 11 managers who could be responsible for the prohibited actions.
“We have evidence that the sale of Iveco trucks may have been conducted in violation of the competition rules. The importer, Iveco Poland, and official distributors were able to share the market, inflate prices and exchange confidential data for up to 10 years ,” says the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
Information obtained, among other things, during searches at the companies’ headquarters shows that Iveco Poland assigned areas of responsibility to its distributors. Dealers were supposed to sell vehicles only to customers who were assigned to those areas. If a prospective buyer from elsewhere requested a quote, the salesperson directed the buyer to a competing distributor or presented him an unfavorable offer.
Iveco Poland was able to maintain market division through a policy of rebates and periodic bonuses for sales performance, and by disciplining dealers who broke out of the arrangements.
Dealers also were able to pass information about potential customers to each other, as well as agree among themselves which dealer would have the right to make an offer to a particular customer to purchase a vehicle. In such cases, other dealers were warned not to contact this customer or make competing offers. Some of the information obtained by the Office also concerned requests that other distributors do not submit bids in specific public tenders.
The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection also has evidence indicating that traders exchanged information about the prices they charged. This was primarily to agree on the terms of the offers presented to customers in such a way as to discourage potential buyers from purchasing trucks from a different dealer than the agreement between the sellers implied.
“The collusion we suspect may be why, for 10 years, Iveco truck buyers have not been free to choose where they purchase a vehicle. They may also pay more for them than they would under fair competition. The use of practices restricting competition is subject to severe financial penalties - up to 10% of turnover for entrepreneurs and up to PLN 2 million for managers,” says the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny.
The proceedings are being conducted against the following entrepreneurs: Iveco Poland from Warsaw, DBK from Olsztyn, CTC from Ruda Śląska, Przedsiębiorstwo Usługowo-Handlowe Exmot from Bydgoszcz, Siltruck from Skoczów, Trans-Poz under restructuring from Swadzim, Uni-Truck from Zielona Góra, STC from Rzeszów, ADF Auto from Wrocław, On Road Truck Services from Poznań and Truck Nord Center from Sierpc.
The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection also brought charges against 11 managers who may have been directly responsible for the prohibited arrangements. ■