Dealer reaction: Mercedes-Benz and three CV dealers' £2.6m OFT fine

Commercial Motor
February 28, 2013

Following the news that The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has agreed a £2.6m settlement with Mercedes-Benz and three of its CV dealers as part of its long-running investigation into competition law infringements, we spoke to the dealerships involved.

Mercedes-Benz has already given its response in full. Meanwhile, three of the four dealers involved in the recent settlement said that they had already taken steps to ensure their staff are fully aware of their obligations under competition law.

Roy Reed, MD of Warrington-based Enza Motors, said: “This infringement has been treated seriously within our business. All relevant staff have completed competition law training. This infringement came as a shock. The training will ensure no further breach will occur.”

Colin Briggs, MD at Blackburn-based Ciceley Commercials, said: “We have all now been thoroughly trained in the dos and don’ts of competition law and nothing like this will ever happen again at Ciceley."

Northside Truck and Van's MD Tim Ward, which admitted infringing competition law but will avoid any fine due to its role as whistleblower in the investigation, said: “As soon as it became aware of the OFT’s investigation and the implications of its conduct, Northside stopped engaging in the behaviour described in the infringement.”

The MD of the Bradford-based firm continued: “Northside does not condone anti-competitive behaviour and has taken steps to ensure that its staff behave in a manner which is compliant with the Competition Act.”

Two of the dealers also suggested their actions had not affected the price customers paid for vehicles. An external audit commissioned by Enza Motors “confirmed our thoughts that, during the infringed period, our activities had not affected the relevant market”,  said Reed.

Briggs said: “Ciceley has looked at the position and we do not believe any customer of ours has suffered any loss as a result."

Liverpool-based Road Range declined to comment.

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