Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich

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A HARD LESSON FOR SOMERSET ESTATES AGENTS FALLING FOUL OF PRICE FIXING LEGISLATION

On 10 April 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) accepted disqualification undertakings from two directors of a residential estate agents in Somerset that was fined for breach of the Competition Act 1998 in relation to price fixing..

In May 2017, the CMA fined Abbott and Frost Estate Agents Ltd for agreeing, with five other estate agents to fix their minimum commission rates for the provision of residential sales services in the Burnham-on-Sea area. Two of Abbott and Frosts’ directors have now each given the CMA undertakings not to act as a director of any UK company for periods of three years and six months and three years, respectively.

The CMA found that the six estate agents entered into an anti-competitive agreement to fix a minimum level of commission fees (1.5%) for the provision of residential sales services in the Burnham-on-Sea area. The CMA identified that a number of directors were actively involved in the cartel or were aware of it and failed to take any steps to stop it, and imposed fines totalling £370,084 on five of the six estate agents involved, with the sixth company receiving immunity from fines under the CMA’s leniency policy.

The CMA states that it is continuing to investigate whether to seek the disqualification of other directors of companies involved in this price-fixing cartel. However, provided they continue to comply with the terms of their leniency agreement, the CMA will not seek the disqualification of the cooperating directors of three of the estate agents, which qualified for leniency under the CMA’s leniency policy.

This Case summary is based on an article originally published by Practical Law Company on 10 April 2018. This is published for information only and does not constitute specific legal advice.

Contact realestate@prettys.co.uk for more information about any competition advice

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