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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Tender collusion on the towing services market - decision of the UOKiK

< previous | next > 24.05.2017

Tender collusion on the towing services market - decision of the UOKiK
  • The UOKiK issued a decision in which it concluded that suppliers of car towing and parking services based in the Opolskie province have engaged in tender collusion.
  • The entrepreneurs in question were able to influence the outcomes of the public procurement procedures organised by the District Governor’s Office and the Province Police Headquarters in Opole.
  • The total amount of fines imposed exceeded PLN 170 thousand.

The UOKiK has been informed by the Province Police Headquarters in Opole that the participants of the public procurement procedure for vehicle towing and parking services might have engaged in tender collusion. The notification pertained to two entrepreneurs from the Opolskie province: Auto Czok from Kępa and P.W. Warm from Niemodlin. In the course of the proceedings, the Competition Authority was able to confirm that prohibited practices have been applied not only during public procurement proceedings organised by the Province Police Headquarters, but also during those held by the District Governor’s Office in Opole. The companies referred to above have been applying the practices in question at least from 2013.

From what we have learned so far, it appears clear that the entrepreneurs have been consulting each other before placing a bid. In addition, they have also divided the market and the profits between themselves without the need to compete against one another – says Mr Marek Niechciał, President of the UOKiK.

Acting in collusion, the companies have agreed that when one of them was awarded the given contract, the other would serve as the subcontractor for such contract. As a result, each one of them continued to operate on its “own turf”, without the need to compete against the other.

An example may be the tender organised by the District Governor’s Office in Opole in 2013, during which both entrepreneurs placed bids which not only listed the same prices, but were also missing the same documents. These defects were later remedied at exactly the same time and, with only one exception, the bids still offered the same prices for the services listed therein. Once the most favourable bid was selected, the winner subcontracted the works to the other participant of the tender. 

In the view of the Competition Authority, Auto Czok and P.W. Warm engaged in collusion. It is hardly likely that two different entrepreneurs might have otherwise placed bids which listed exactly the same prices for each of the 21 services offered. At the same time, their bids also contained the same errors and have been filed at exactly the same time. Likewise, it appears unimaginable that an economic entity which hoped to win the contract and actually knew the prices offered by its competitor beforehand would not attempt to offer a lower price for at least some of the services involved.

A financial penalty in the amount exceeding PLN 170 thousand was imposed upon the participants of the tender collusion, with PLN 88,521 and PLN 81,993 being imposed upon P.W. Warm and Auto Czok respectively. The President of the UOKiK has also ordered the cessation of the prohibited practices, having determined that the entrepreneurs in question were in fact still using similar methods when participating in public tender proceedings. The decision is not final and may be appealed against to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Tender collusion is one of the most serious types of anti-competitive practices. Apart from having a detrimental effect on competition, it also harms the economy by causing public funds to be spent in an inefficient manner. Where such practices are applied, the contracting authorities are forced to pay more than they would have paid if there had been actual competition between the bidders.

Additional information for the media:

Press Office of the UOKiK
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: 695 902 088, 22 55 60 430
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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