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Anti-Competitive Price Fixing Agreement in the Real Estate Business

18. december 2013

A small cooperative chain of independent real estate agents – BoligOne – had notified their commercialization agreement to the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority.

According to the agreement, the parties had i.a. agreed on a fixed price for their services, which was binding for the members of the chain, and BoligOne had asked the authority to confirm that the Danish Competition Act was inapplicable to agreements and decisions made by the chain, due to its small size and structure.

However, on December 18, 2013, the Danish Competition Council found the price fixing agreement to constitute a serious violation of Section 6 of the Danish Competition Act and ordered BoligOne immediately to stop setting and advertising a fixed price for their services and to abstain from any future agreements with the same or similar object or effect.

BoligOne is a horizontal cooperation between 23 small businesses with an insignificant share of the Danish real estate market. Nevertheless, the Danish Competition Council found the price fixing agreement to restrict competition appreciably. The Council based this decision on Danish as well as EU case law, according to which an agreement that has an anti-competitive object constitutes, by its nature and independently of any concrete effect that it may have, an appreciable restriction on competition.

In addition to this, the de-minimis rules of the Danish Competition Act, Section 7, do not apply to cases, in which undertakings or an association of undertakings agree, coordinate or decide on prices, profits etc. for the sale or resale of goods or services.

For further information please contact Marie Sejthen (+45 4171 5155, mse@kfst.dk) or Karen Berg (+45 4171 5142, kb@kfst.dk).