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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Building materials - actions taken by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

< previous | next > 21.04.2021

Building materials - actions taken by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection
  • The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chróstny, has initiated an investigation to determine whether there has been price fixing or abuse of a dominant position in the polystyrene foam market.
  • Within the framework of the market investigation, the Office will also analyse changes in cement and lime prices. 
  • Restriction of competition is punishable by a financial penalty of up to 10 percent  of the entrepreneur's turnover.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection notes with concern the trend of a strong increase in the prices of building materials. Compared to the relevant period in 2020, there was a double-digit increase in some prices. As a consequence, refurbishing or finishing a flat will be much more expensive this spring than it was last year. The construction sector in our country is constantly developing and increasing the need for building materials. As a result, there is an increase in the demand for such materials that translates into an increase in prices. It must be investigated, however, whether some of these increases did not occur as a consequence of actions other than objective economic factors, including prohibited collusions.

Due to the signals coming from the market, the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection has initiated an investigation to determine whether there has been any restriction of competition related to polystyrene sales. As part of the market investigation, the President will also analyse the state of competition in the cement and lime market. 

-  We will investigate behaviours of entrepreneurs in terms of collusions or abuse of a dominant position. Significant, rapid increases in prices may be alarming. The main goal is to investigate whether the increases go beyond the macroeconomic basis and whether they do not stem from practices that restrict competition - explains Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK.

Possible cases of law violation can be reported by consumers and entrepreneurs.  Information can be sent to  [SCODE]ZG9rQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE], or anonymously, to the platform for whistleblowers.

Collusions aimed at dividing the market or fixing prices of goods and services are prohibited by law. The abuse of market power by monopolists and imposition of unfair prices also constitutes an unlawful practice. Restriction of competition is punishable by a financial penalty of up to 10 percent  of the entrepreneur's turnover. It is worth explaining, however, that an entrepreneur who independently adjusts to the changing conditions in the market, especially to the behaviour of its competition, is not breaking the law. For example, price mimicking, that is observing the price policy of direct competitors and adjusting to their sales offer, is legally permissible. However, if entrepreneurs enter into an agreement regarding an increase in prices and coordinate such an increase, they participate in an illegal market collusion.

The President of the Office reminds entrepreneurs and managers involved in collusions aimed at restricting competition that they can avoid severe financial penalties through the leniency programme. For details, please call:  22 55 60 555. UOKiK's lawyers will answer all of your questions concerning the leniency programme, also anonymous ones.

The Office also runs a programme of acquiring information from anonymous whistleblowers. Visit https://konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl/sygnalista/ and fill out a simple form. The applied European system guarantees full anonymity, also towards the Office.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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