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FTC keeping watch

Marlon Madden

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The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has warned that it will be sniffing out companies that are finding new, skilful ways of carrying out anti-competitive practices across a number of sectors on the island, and it will ensure those practices are eradicated.
Fair competition director DeCourcey Eversley told reporters that “one of the things we have been seeing fairly often these days is companies trying to take over markets very cleverly”.
Eversley said some companies were entering into “exclusive contracts” with other companies and offering their services at a reduced rate.
“So the company is only allowed to have services coming from you. Basically that is the type of contract that you are seeing forged. And what that does is, it squeezes the other people who would also like to offer that type of service to the same type of company out of the market,” he said.
“So if you are clever enough, you can go around and identify all the people who are requiring that type of service and try to negotiate these types of exclusive contracts. And thereby you can cleverly push a lot of other people out of the market and thereby take over the market and when you take over the market, obviously you become a monopoly and then you are able to put the prices up. It is something the commission is concerned about,” added Eversley.
He warned that if companies were guilty of deliberately trying to make that kind of contract aimed at pushing their competitors out of the market and later on exploit consumers, it was something the commission “will frown upon seriously”.
“We are looking at some of those matters; we are conducting investigations and if there are those kinds of practices, when we get to the bottom of the matter, those will be eliminated determinedly by the commission. . . .
“It happens across a whole range of sectors, so there is not any one person. It is very broad-based in terms of how it is occurring right now,” he said, opting not to go into details.