The Competitive Markets Authority, CMA, has issued a warning to businesses with a new campaign, which asks firms if they are “Cheating or Competing?”
The launch comes after a sustained crackdown against illegal cartels by the CMA, which issued over £43 million in fines last year alone.
Anti-competitive practices like price fixing, bid rigging and dividing markets or customers between competitors - commonly referred to as market sharing - can take place in any business. However, a number of recent CMA cases have come from the construction industry.
New research, conducted on behalf of the CMA, revealed that only 6% of firms in this sector were familiar with competition law and that general understanding of the illegality of these business practices is low.
29% of those surveyed thought it was OK to attend meetings with competitors to agree prices. A further 32% thought agreeing not to supply each other's customers was legal, and a quarter (25%) saw no problem with discussing bids and agreeing who would get which tenders.
The research goes on to show that only 6% of management teams of the construction firms surveyed had received competition law training. Additionally, only 6% of the respondents had actively sought out information on how to comply with the law.