Bonn, Germany -- Tempur Germany has been fined EUR 15.5m ($17.5) for price-fixing mattresses across the country.
Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said that from August 2005 to July 2011, Tempur – based in Steinhagen – compelled online and store-based traders to only offer Tempur mattresses at prices set by the manufacturer.
“Only if the dealer can freely set the price can real competition arise," said Mundt.
According to the Bundeskartellamt, if a trader reduced the price it offered the mattress by more than 5% of Tempur’s recommended price, Tempur staff told them to increase the price back to the set level.
“Most traders adhered to Tempur’s agreement, since they were aware that they had to reckon with adverse consequences,” a Bundeskartellamt statement said.
While manufacturers may give retailers price recommendations, these must be suggestions, the organisation said.
Traders and dealers that failed to follow Tempur’s direction found deliveries were significantly delayed in part or completely adjusted in some cases. Tempur’s measures to prevent offers such as 25% reductions also included a withdrawal of authorisation to use the brand name for online advertising on Google.
Customer complaints prompted the Federal Cartel Office to investigate the sector’s companies in August 2011, August 2014 and in February 2015.
At the same time, the Bundeskartellamt was investigating Recticel’s mattress division and Metzeler Schaum, both of which received fines for anti-competitive dealings in the mattress sector, as reported at UTECH-polyurethane.com
The fine amount took to account, Tempur’s cooperation with the Bundeskartellamt but may be raised in the future.
XE Currency conversion: 22 October, 2015