News article

Campaign to stop business cartels

1 November 2018

Call for whistle-blowers to expose business cartels with the launch of a national awareness campaign

New research shows many firms don’t know enough about how to comply with competition law.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) have launched a cartel awareness campaign. The campaign aims to educate businesses about which practices are illegal. It also urges people to come forward if they suspect a business has taken part in cartel behaviour, such as fixing prices or rigging contracts. 

ICM research shows that out of amongst 1,000 companies surveyed:

  • only 57 per cent knew it was illegal to fix prices
  • nearly half either didn’t know or thought it was legal to discuss prices with competing bidders when quoting for new work (23 per cent said ‘don’t know’, and 25 per cent actually thought it was legal)
  • significantly more than half (59 per cent) didn’t know or thought that dividing up and sharing customers with rivals was legal (24 per cent said ‘don’t know’ and 35 per cent actually thought it was legal)

The campaign is targeting industries including construction, manufacturing, recruitment, estate agents and property management and maintenance. These sectors are particularly susceptible to cartels. 

The campaign is being delivered through social media and a dedicated Stop Cartels website.