The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) proposes that the Market Court impose penalty payments to the value of around €300,000 on Uudenmaan Autokouluyhdistys ry (the Uusimaa Driving School Association, UAY) and eight driving schools. UAY and six driving schools on the association’s board encouraged driving schools to raise their prices. In Porvoo, the price recommendation led to a price cartel involving three driving schools.
According to the investigation carried out by the FCCA, UAY and six driving schools represented on its board recommended to companies operating in the sector that they raise the prices of driving instruction for category B licences. In addition, new operators that entered the market in Porvoo in autumn 2014 were encouraged to increase their prices so that the older businesses would not have to decrease theirs. Price increases were suggested during regional discussions and training events organised by the Association.
In January 2013 and in connection with the legislative reforms entering into force at the time, the Porvoo-based driving schools Porvoon Autokoulu, Drivers’ Club and Auto-opisto raised by common agreement the total price for category B licence driving instruction by around €600. These companies stuck to the agreed price level until two new operators entered the market in Porvoo in autumn 2014, at which point they tried to get the new operators to raise the price for basic category B licence instruction by €300–400.
Companies which are in competition with each other are not permitted to discuss or agree together on raising prices. Price recommendations and price agreements are very serious competition restrictions for which the only purpose is to raise the price level to the detriment of consumers.
“Companies must make pricing decisions independently. They are not allowed to agree on or discuss increases to prices together, nor is a trade association allowed to recommend price increases. Agreeing on prices is deceiving consumers”, says Kirsi Leivo, DG of the FCCA.
The FCCA proposes penalty payments to UAY and six driving schools for price recommendations issued between 2012 and 2015. In addition, the FCCA proposes penalty payments to Porvoon Autokoulu, Drivers’ Club and Auto-opisto for a price cartel which lasted from the start of 2013 to the autumn of 2014. The total amount of the proposed penalty payments is around €300,000, and they are divided between the different companies and UAY as detailed in the table below.
|Proposed penalty payment|
|The Uusimaa Driving School Association, UAY||€12,251.60|
|Porvoon Autokoulu Oy||€31,300|
|Oy Autokoulu Drivers’ Club Bilskola Ab||€61,200|
|Timo Anttila Yhtiöt Oy (formerly Porvoon Auto-opisto Oy)||€54,300|
|Autokoulu Hakala Ky||€17,568.50|
|Eko-Center Liikennekoulutuspalvelut Ky||€6,881.84|
|Järvenpään Ajokoulutuskeskus Oy||€55,100|
|Oy Hangö Bilskola – Hangon Autokoulu Ab||€13,900|
|Malmin Autokoulu Oy||€57,800|
Director Maarit Taurula, tel. +358 (0)29 505 3381
Head of Research Jarno Sukanen, tel. +358 (0)29 505 3352
Senior Specialist Riina Autio, tel. +358 (0)29 505 3690