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Swiss piano dealers fined for price fixing

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Photo: AFP
21:17 CET+01:00
Two piano dealers in Switzerland have been fined more than half a million francs for fixing prices on famous brands, the Swiss competition commission (Comco) said on Thursday.

Musik Hug AG and AKHZ Management AG (formerly Krompholz AG) together face penalties of 518,000 francs ($520,000) for agreeing to illegally fix prices and discounts on upright and grand pianos made by Steinway & Sons and Grotrian-Steinweg, Comco said.

The two dealers coordinated their prices in an “unacceptable manner” along with another Swiss dealer, La Bottega del Pianoforte, which escaped fines because it admitted its behaviour to authorities, the commission said in a news release.

The piano makers Steinway and Grotrian-Steinweg did not themselves set minimum or fixed prices but they supported the price fixing arrangements by printing price lists agreed to by the dealers, the release said.

The manufacturers have pledged to Swiss authorities to refrain from such behaviour in the future, Comco said.

The sanctions against the dealers come more than three years after an investigation was launched on November 28th 2012 at the request of the building department of the canton of Zurich.

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A suspected violation of the law on cartels in relation to the procedure for seeking bids for pianos for the Zurich University of the Arts (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste) in the former Toni Dairy has not been proved, the commission said.

Comco’s decision can be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court in Saint Gallen. 

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