Construction Site

It takes less time to do things right
than to explain why you did it wrong.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What you need to know about competition
and consumer law

Five things you need to know about
competition law


Price fixing and cartels are illegal

Any agreement between competitors that sets the price of a good or service or interferes with how that price is reached is illegal. This includes agreeing to rig bids, divide markets by customer or area, or restrict output. These agreements are known as price fixing or cartels. Always ensure you make all your own decisions about pricing or anything affecting your pricing (discounts, rebates, price components etc).


Agreements between businesses that substantially lessen competition are illegal

Agreements between businesses that substantially lessen competition in a market are illegal. This applies to both agreements between suppliers and customers, and agreements between competitors.


Some agreements may be exempt from the price fixing rule

These exemptions include agreements like recommended retail prices, joint buying or joint ventures. If you are looking at these kinds of agreements, you should get advice to ensure your agreement complies with the Commerce Act.


Immunity from legal action may be available

We will grant immunity from legal action to you if you are the first person in a cartel to tell us about the cartel. Immunity is dependent on your continued cooperation. If you are not the first-in-the-door to report a particular cartel, or we are already aware of the cartel when you report it to us, we can offer a discounted penalty, again, if you provide information and fully cooperate with us.
For more information, read our leniency policy for cartels fact sheet.


Trade association members need to take care

Members of trade or industry associations are usually competitors. And any agreement entered into by an association is considered an agreement between all the members. So care must always be taken to ensure that associations and their members do not engage in anti-competitive behaviour when taking part in association activities. Individual members can be held liable if their trade association acts in an anti-competitive way, even if this happened without the individual's knowledge or involvement.
For more information, read our Trade Association Guidelines.


Please note this is a guideline only and should not be used instead of legal advice. Only the courts can make a ruling on breaches of the Commerce Act.