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Price Fixing

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many prosecutions took place in the last 12-month period for which figures are available for offences under the Resale Prices Act 1976; and if he will publish the details of the alleged offence in each case in the Official Report.

No criminal proceedings lie against any person for contravening the Resale Prices Act 1976, but by section 25 of that Act compliance is enforceable by civil proceedings on behalf of the Crown. In the only case to be brought under these powers, the Director General of Fair Trading instituted proceedings against Hotpoint Ltd. in respect of a complaint by Comet Radiovision Services Ltd, and on 31 May 1979 by consent an order was made staying further proceedings upon the terms of a settlement agreed between the parties.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will investigate price fixing by suppliers of (a) high fidelity equipment, (b) cameras, (c) watches, (d) carpets, (e) furniture, (f) jewellery, (g) perfume and toileteries, (h) cosmetics and other similar areas with large retail profit margins; and if he will make a statement;

  • (2) what consideration he has given to the evidence submitted to him of price fixing in furniture sales by suppliers; if he will take steps to enable retailers to have free discounting opportunity in this and similar areas with substantial retail profit margins; and if he will make a statement.
  • (3) what consideration he has given to the evidence submitted to him of price fixing in perfume sales by suppliers; if he will take steps to enable retailers to have free discounting opportunity in this and similar areas with substantial retail profit margins; and if he will make a statement:
  • (4) what consideration he has given to the evidence submitted to him of price fixing in cosmetic sales by suppliers; and if he will take steps to enable retailers to have free discounting opportunity in this and similar areas with substantial retail profit margins; and if he will make a statement:
  • (5) what consideration he has given to the evidence submitted to him of price fixing in clocks and watches sales by suppliers; and if he will take steps to enable retailers to have free discounting opportunity in this and other similar areas with substantial retail profit margins.
  • The Director General of Fair Trading is responsible for administering the Resale Prices Act 1976, and I have passed to him the information about possible resale price maintenance supplied to me by the hon. Member. I understand that the Director General has been pursuing inquiries into this matter and that the information now sent to him may be of assistance, although he had already received some of the documents in question.