Will IMF Requirement that Ireland Strengthen Competition Law Sanctions Actually Make a Difference?

October 31, 2011

(by Andreas Stephan) The Republic of Ireland is facing the most serious economic crisis in its history. In order to deal with its sovereign debt crisis, it has had to accept a painful and far reaching Programme of Financial Support from the EU and the IMF. As part of this, Ireland is required to “introduce reforms to legislation to empower judges to improve fines and other sanctions in competition cases in order to generate more credible deterrence” (p24). This is an odd requirement for a country which is arguably ahead of the UK and other larger EU Member States in the development of its competition enforcement regime. It raises the question of whether higher competition sanctions really will make a difference to the Irish recovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Supermarket Price Guarantees – and then there were three

October 14, 2011

(by Morten Hviid) Sainsbury’s has now joined its two larger rivals, Tesco and Asda, in offering consumers a price guarantee with an associated possible refund. An interesting aspect of the three guarantees is that they differ on fundamental aspects. Asda promises to beat the rivals by 10% and the guarantee is valid even if Asda has the lower price, so long as this is not 10% below the lowest price rival. Tesco for a short while offered to refund double the difference, though they have now restructured the offer to simply match. Sainsbury’s also promise to match, but their added twist is that rather than the consumer having to do something actively, such as getting onto a website to key in details about their receipt, the refund is printed out at the till when checking out. Sainsbury’s guarantee thus takes the direct hassle out of claiming any refund. The indirect hassle of actually storing and remembering the coupon still remain.  What are the likely effects of the guarantee introduced by Sainsbury’s? Read the rest of this entry »