Collusion of Large Supermarket Chains Create a Scandal


01 de marzo de 2019, 16:35Santiago, Chile, Mar 1 (Prensa Latina) The decision of a Chilean court to fine three supermarket chains for colluding to sell chicken meat at high prices, caused surprise today among consumers and even in the government.

After a process that lasted three years, the Court of Defense of Free Competition (TDLC) imposed fines for $ 5.1 million to the Cencosud chain, from 4.2 million to the local subsidiary of the American Walmart and 3.1 million to SMU.

The research found these three consortiums participated in an agreement to set, through their suppliers, a price for fresh chicken meat, higher than that stipulated for wholesalers, between 2008 and 2011.

The three companies, meanwhile, announced they will appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling, although this is mild, compared to the maximum fine that had requested the National Economic Prosecutor, of 27 million dollars to each, according to that established by law at the time of the crime.

Some analysts consider doubly negative the attitude of these companies, taking into account that chicken meat is the most consumed by most Chileans, as it is the cheapest, and with this scam who were most affected were precisely the families of lower income.

Others consider that research should deepen into other types of meat, since the same suppliers not only market chicken, but also pork, beef and fish.

From the Government, the Minister of Economy, José Ramón Valente, described this monopolistic practice as intolerable and assured that ‘all those collusion events that we have known in recent years deserve the most repugnant condemnation.’

He added that these practices must be definitively banished because they affect the functioning of the markets and especially attack the most urgent needs of the population.

For his part, Lucas del Valle, director of the National Consumer Service (Sernac), attached to the Ministry of Economy, said he is waiting for the Supreme Court to confirm the ruling to file compensatory actions and compensation so that consumers receive the benefit that corresponds.

Shipping companies were also condemned for colluding in the transport of merchandise, and some of the same chains of supermarkets pointed out now, for managing in their favor the prices of diapers, toilet paper and other products.

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