01 March 2001
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is encouraging small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to "blow the whistle" if they believe their clients are operating cartels.
A telephone hotline has been set up as part of a campaign to educate the sector about price fixing. "Cartels can put SMEs out of business, but too many simply put up with them," said a spokesperson for the OFT.
Dick Jennings, partner at law firm Ford and Warren and a member of CIPS legal committee, welcomed the OFT's initiative but said it was often difficult to spot a cartel.
The campaign only scratched the surface, he said. "It must be more the advice centre at the top of the cliff than the ambulance at the bottom waiting for casualties. It is very difficult to do anything about nods and winks in pubs and on golf courses."
• The OFT 24-hour cartel hotline is 020 7211 8888.