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Be warned. CMA is serious – major estate agents already being fined

Be warned. CMA is serious – major estate agents already being fined

The CMA last week collected £775,000 in fines on Three Counties Estate Agents Ltd consisting of Waterfords Limited, Castles Property Services Ltd, Hamptons International and publisher Trinity Mirror (Southern). The major decision taken by the CMA for alleged anti-competitive behaviour may be just the start of similar actions.

This has instigated Shoosmiths, a large legal company with a number of FTSE 250 and international clients to respond in a briefing in The Lawyer magazine saying the decision was a clear message from the CMA that it has the power to investigate and punish anti-competitive conduct.

The author of The Lawyer magazine, Simon Barnes added “In particular, the CMA does not limit itself to reviewing conduct in large national markets. Indeed, this case involved a relatively small, localised market, relating to advertising arrangements in a single local newspaper. In that context, the magnitude of the fines is significant”.

“Interestingly, the CMA says it has received complaints of potentially similar conduct concerning alliances in other parts of the UK. This may result in further investigations into similar restrictions, regardless of the size of company involved, particularly if they take no steps to remove such restrictions and ensure compliance in light of the present investigation

This week online estate agency chief Russell Quirk predicted the CMA verdict could be used to justify his complaint to the authority about new portal OnTheMarket.

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