Anti-Competitive Practices

Prohibited conduct

Competition in the markets helps produce better prices, higher quality products and services, a more advanced level of technological development, and finally, better productivity and competitiveness for our companies.

The existence of effective competition among companies represents one of the defining elements of a free market economy. It disciplines the actions of companies and reassigns productive resources in favour of the most efficient operators or technologies. This efficiency in production is passed on to the consumer in the form of lower prices  or an increase in the number, variety, and quality of the products available, with the corresponding increase in the well-being of society as a whole.

In order to prevent this competition from being affected in a negative way by certain behaviours by companies, we investigate and sanction and anti-competitive conduct that harms the markets.

Prohibited agreements

It is prohibited for companies to form agreements to fix prices or establish other terms of sale, or to divide up their market or impose limits on production.

Specifically, article 1 of Law 15/2007 prohibits “any collective agreement, decision, or recommendation, or coordinated or consciously parallel practices that produce or could produce the effect of impeding, restricting, or falsifying competition in the markets”.

Formation of cartels is one example of prohibited agreements of this type. This refers to cases where various companies in the same industry secretly agree to raise the prices of their products  in a similar manner, which creates a situation that harms the market and consumers. In fact, investigation of cartel scenarios is one of our priorities.

However, there are also some agreements between companies that, even though they would meet the requirements found in article 1 of Law 15/2007, are not sanctionable because it is believed that they have favourable effects for the consumer, or that they produce improvements in terms of production, distribution, or marketing, or that they promote technological progress.

All of these positive effects counteract the harmful effects produced from the perspective of competition. An example of such agreements are some credit default records that improve the functioning of company-customer relationships in a specific industry. Spain's Law on Defence of Competition implemented a self-evaluation system for businesses, and the European Commission has done this as well.

If the Tribunal for the Defence of Competition used to explicitly authorize this type of agreement for a specific period of time when they met a series of requirements, with the new Law on Defence of Competition, the self-evaluation system has been implemented by companies, in the line of the European Commission.a.

Abuse of dominant position

Spain's Law on Defence of Competition prohibits abusive exploitation of a dominant position held by one or more companies.

A company is considered to have a dominant position in the market where it does business if it has the capacity to behave in a relatively independent manner, without taking its suppliers, customers, or competitors into account.

Some examples of abusive exploitation of a dominant position are:

  • imposing unfair prices or other sales conditions
  • refusing to satisfy purchasing demands for the products or services provided, without justification
  • subjecting the signing of contracts to acceptance of provisions that have no relation to the subject of the contract

 

Acts of disloyalty

We are also authorised to sanction acts of competitive disloyalty or acts that denigrate competitors, when such actions negatively affect the public interest.

Any person (individual or legal entity, whether directly involved or not) can submit a complaint regarding any conduct regulated by the Law on Defence of Competition.

These complaints must have the contents described in ANNEX I of the Regulations on Defence of Competition..

Guide to combating fraud in public tendering

Guía

PDF, 2 páginas

Latest resolutions

All resolutions on anti-competitive conduct in the area of competition

Cases in progress

All anti-competitive conduct cases in progress at the present time
Número Expediente Fecha incoación
S/DC/0619/17 ACUERDO MARCO DE LA ESTIBA
S/0631/18 ADIDAS ESPAÑA
S/0425/12 INDUSTRIAS LACTEAS 2
S/DC/0605/17 AMARRES PUERTO DE ALGECIRAS
S/DC/0611/17 OBRA CIVIL
S/DC/0614/17 SEGURIDAD Y COMUNICACIONES FERROVIARIAS
S/0626/18 RADARES METEOROLÓGICOS
S/0629/18 ASISTENCIA TÉCNICA VAILLANT
S/0628/18 RESIDUOS 2
S/DC/0612/17 MONTAJE Y MANTENIMIENTO INDUSTRIAL
S/DC/0617/17 ATRESMEDIA / MEDIASET
S/DC/0619/17 ACUERDO MARCO DE LA ESTIBA

All anti-competitive conduct cases in progress at the present time