Allegation of Price Fixing in the Sale of Alcohol to the Public

Outcome of the Court Action

The Competition Authority (the Authority) initiated legal proceedings against the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) in 1998 in relation to allegations of price-fixing in the sale of alcoholic drinks. The Authority later agreed settlement terms in its High Court action in 2005.

In similar proceedings, settlement terms were reached with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) in December 2003.

Outline of case

A trade association can harm consumers by eliminating competition among its members. They can do this by fixing the prices at which its members sell their services. This is a breach of competition law. The Authority began legal proceedings in 1998 on foot of an allegation of price fixing. The Authority subsequently agreed settlement terms in 2005 with the VFI in a High Court action taken by the Authority.

In the settlement terms, the VFI undertake not to recommend to their members the prices, margins, increases in prices, and increases in margins on the sale to the public of alcoholic beverages for consumption on licensed premises owned, managed or controlled by the VFI’s members.

In similar proceedings, settlement terms were reached with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) in December 2003.

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