Stay on the Right Side of Competition Law

Hey there, fellow nail technicians in the UK! I wanted to share a friendly reminder from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about the importance of complying with competition law. This reminder comes after reports of a campaign called National Nail Price Increase Day on 6th April 2024 encouraging simultaneous price increases among nail technicians, which raised concerns with the CMA about potential anti-competitive behaviour. The CMA wrote an open letter regarding this price increase to the nail industry. Read this here.

This situation highlights that even collaboration with good intentions can mean a breach of competition law. 

Just a heads up - under UK competition law, it's crucial for businesses to set their prices independently. This means that chatting with competitors about when or how much to increase prices isn't allowed. Breaking these rules could lead to some hefty fines, or in extreme cases, it might even be considered a criminal offence.

Competitors coordinating behaviour is not allowed for good reason. It removes the ability of customers to shop around for a better deal and undermines the incentive of businesses to improve their service offering (either through price or quality) in order to attract consumers. Such coordinated approaches can also punish businesses that do follow the law or cause issues for how prices evolve in the long term. In light of this, it might be a good idea for us to review your pricing policies and make sure you are not unknowingly engaging in any anti-competitive practices. This includes avoiding discussions about prices with other businesses in the industry, whether through groups, industry bodies or organisations.

For those looking for more guidance on competition law, the CMA has a helpful online resource with all the info you might need. It's super important for us to be aware of our responsibilities under UK competition law and make sure we're playing by the rules.

You may not think the CMA will go after small businesses but in 2015, the CMA fined a membership organisation of private consultant ophthalmologists for competition law infringements which included circulating detailed prices amongst its members. Much like the open letter above addressed to nail technicians, the CMA also published an open letter, addressed to medical practitioners in general, warning them to act with care not to commit similar offences.

By setting your prices independently and steering clear of price talks with competitors, you can ensure that our businesses operate in line with the law.

Let's stay informed and make sure your nail businesses are protected!

Love Katie B xx

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