The National Competition Commission of Spain, the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, has imposed fines totalling more than 35 million euro to 17 businesses and 2 associations who collaborating in price fixing and trading conditions in the rental car market.
The January, 2012, the CNC launched an investigation into several companies and associations operating in the ‘rent a car’ sector, carrying out various spot checks and inspections on those companies suspected of being involved.
In July, the commission issued a resolution that they say proved the existence of a single and continuous infringement of Article 1 of the Law on Competition, with agreements made through contacts and meetings between representatives of these entities in evidence from between May, 2005 and October, 2011.
These practices fall within the definition of a “cartel”, since the object of the agreements consisted of pricing and commercial terms and agreements that had a particular impact in Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia and the Balearic Islands.
The investigation found that the members had fixed prices, either their minimum, base cost, or the maintenance and predefined rental periods, with the same policy towards the beginning and end of each season, as well as the price of extras such as surcharges for baby seats, additional drivers, etc.
According to the CNC, the participating companies were fully aware of the illegality of the agreements, so much so they had a control system in place that would mask the findings of any checks by the likes of the competition authority.
The CNC considers that any cartel, by its nature, produces a significant distortion of competition in the market place, which benefits only the parties of the agreements and is extremely detrimental to the client.
Goldcar Spain received the biggest fine, totalling 15,456,219 euro, followed by Centauro with 5,567,940 euro, Record-Go Holiday Rental with 4,871,400 euro, Automotivecars Málaga with 2,986,326 euro, Avis Rent a car have been penalised by 1,469,907 euro and Victoria Car Hire were fined 1,065,562 euro.
The total list of those 17 companies found involved in the cartel are Alquiler De Coches Victoria, Aurigacrown Car Hire, Automotivecars Málaga and Idapi, Avis Alquile Un Coche and Avis Europe Overseas Ltd, Bardon y Rufo 67, Cargest Centauro Rent-A-Car and Centauro, Dickmanns Rent A Car, Drivalia Car Rental, Goldcar Spain and Goldcar Renting, Guerin Rent A Car, Ibericar Sociedad Ibérica Del Automóvil, Helle Auto, New Cars Costa Del Sol, Niza Cars, Prima Rent A Car, Record-Go Alquiler Vacacional and Go De Alquiler, Sol Mar Alquiler De Vehículos, and, in addition to those companies, the Asociacion Empresarial De Coches De Alquiler De Andalucía (AECA) and the Asociacion De Empresarios De Servicios De Vehiculos De Alquiler De Andalucía (AESVA).
The CNC Council also stated that SOLMAR met the requirements of the Act and were therefore exempt from paying their 791,958 euro fine for its original participation in the cartel.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/40184/
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