Monday, 17 December 2012
Crime in TV provides a munificent bounty for the EU
A guest post from Joe Public.
Whoever suggested 'Crime doesn't Pay' obviously didn't work for the EU.
When LCD screen in televisions and computer monitors began to become popular, makers of cathode-ray tubes (CRT) realised their market was rapidly shrinking. The CRT was a valuable component of TV and computer screens, accounting for between 50% to 70% of their cost. Between 1996 and 2006, CRT manufacturers comprising some of the biggest names in the consumer-electronics industry, set up two cartels to fix the price of their products across virtually the entire TV and Monitor industries.
The EU Anti-trust Commission has now successfully determined that "For almost 10 years, the cartelists carried out the most harmful anti-competitive practices, including price fixing, market sharing, customer allocation, capacity and output coordination and exchanges of commercial sensitive information."
The Commission continues: 'The cartelists were trying to address the decline of the CRT market in a collusive way, to the detriment of consumers'.
One document showed that the cartel's strategy was that 'producers need to avoid price competition through controlling their production capacity'.
The guilty manufacturers were well aware they were breaking the law. For instance, one document instructed: 'Everybody is requested to keep it as secret as it would be serious damage if it is open to customers or European Commision'. Another document instructed: 'Please dispose of the following document after reading it'. Most participants were therefore taking precautions to avoid being in possession of 'Smoking Gun' anti-competitive documents.
As a result of their investigations, the EU has fined household names such as Samsung, Philips, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Toshiba, together with Technicolour and MTPD the grand total of 1,470,515,000 Euros (£1.19bn).
The other manufacturer involved, Chunghwa of Taiwan, escaped their potential fine for blowing the whistle on the cartel.
Sadly, none of that money will be distributed to British victims of the crime; the EU gets to keep all 1.47 billion Euros.
However, any EU person (or firm) affected by anti-competitive behaviour may bring the matter before their local court and seek damages. The good news is the fact that 'A Commission decision is binding proof that the behaviour took place, and, was illegal'.
So dear readers, if you consider you can convince a court you have/had a TV and/or monitor containing a CRT manufactured by one of these miscreants during the period concerned, make your claim for damages as appropriate.
Of any damages awarded I'm sure Rosie would welcome a modest 10% to help with the upkeep of her Blog.
Ed: No need for contributions but I would like to thank Joe for bringing this to our attention.