Something we already knew. Petrol prices rigged

  passing through 14 May 13
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Will they raid the offices of the power firms next?

  Forum Editor 14 May 13

How did we already know? Some people may have suspected it, but to say that we already knew is a bit silly.

  WhiteTruckMan 15 May 13

Knowing something is true without evidence, or even in the face of evidence to the contrary isn't exactly a rare phenomena. Just take a look at religions around the world.

WTM

  fourm member 15 May 13

Pricing in an oligopoly with a product with little brand differentiation almost always looks like fixing is going on.

That makes it very difficult for investigators to discover those instances where fixing has occurred.

Still, since 'everyone knows' the petrol price is rigged you wonder why the EU is bothering to spend money investigating.

  Chronos the 2nd 15 May 13

Cartels are nothing new particularly within the EU. Cases.

WhiteTruckMan. Well said.

  fourm member 15 May 13

To pursue WTM's analogy, simply believing there is a god does not create one.

The EU cannot fine the oil companies on the basis that it believes there has been a cartel. Finding evidence is much more difficult and, as we know, previous investigations haven't been able to do that.

  spuds 15 May 13

What do they call price fixing, is it called the "Going Rate"?.

Here in the UK there are many Watchdog's set up as protector's of the public. Have you ever noticed how long any investigation to possible complaints takes, and what are the usual outcomes?.

  fourm member 15 May 13

spuds

If you and I sell string in the same street there is very little chance for us to have different prices. String is string.

If I increase my price the day you increase yours who can say that we'd agree to do that?

If I come to your shop and ask you how you feel about the price of string and go away with the impression that you wouldn't mind the price being higher is that price fixing?

Pricing investigations take a long time because they are very complex.

  spuds 15 May 13

fourm member

You appear to be giving me a lecture on the subject :O)

  michaelw 15 May 13

forum member "Still, since 'everyone knows' the petrol price is rigged you wonder why the EU is bothering to spend money investigating."

The EU are investigating because the Office of Fair Trading made a weak attempt to investigate earlier and came up with nothing. As you say it's going to be difficult unless phones are tapped otherwise how do you obtain evidence regarding phone conversations. The only way evidence can be produced is is there's a record somewhere, like emails or letters. They can ask questions, of course, but if ranks are closed we'll carry on paying over the odds for fuel.

  Forum Editor 15 May 13

People have talked about petrol price fixing ever since Resale Price Maintenance (remember that?) was dealt with by the 1964 Resale Prices Act, which held that any form of price fixing between manufacturers and distributors/retailers was against the Public interest, unless it could be proved otherwise.

As others have said, it is notoriously difficult to discover whether different companies have conspired together to fix selling prices. Allegations have been made about various industries - the hotel industry being one - but the results of investigations are very often inconclusive. Unless there's an electronic or paper trail, or a whistle-blower with evidence it's a hopeless task.

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