On 21 February 2013, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that Mercedes-Benz and three of its independent commercial vehicle dealers in the UK had admitted infringing competition law and agreed to pay fines totalling GBP2.6 million. The dealers involved are mainly active in areas within the North of England and parts of Wales and Scotland. The nature of the infringements varies but all contain at least some element of market sharing, price coordination or exchange of commercially sensitive information.

The OFT is using this case to send a signal that small companies active in local markets are not immune from competition law enforcement in the UK, stating that “the OFT will take firm action against companies that collude to deny customers the benefit of fair competition regardless of the size of the firms involved or geographic scope of the investigation.” The case also serves as a reminder that under UK (and EU) competition law the mere exchange of commercially sensitive information can be seen and fined as a cartel.