Tesco and cheese

This is fun:

The supermarket group was fined £10m last year for price fixing in 2002 and 2003 following an OFT investigation that began in 2004 and has cost millions of pounds. However, the Competition Appeal Tribunal on Wednesday rejected more than half of the OFT’s findings. It said there was “insufficient evidence” to conclude that Tesco was part of concerted effort to fix the price of cheese in 2003.

These sorts of things are always likely to happen when you have a single bureaucracy as the trio of investigator, judge and jury. As the OFT is in these sorts of cases. It\’s only when you get to the next stage, where the roles are seaparated, that you\’ve actually got an impartial study of the evidence.

Rather why we shouldn\’t have just the one group taking all three roles really.

What\’s even more fun about it is the background:

In a statement, Tesco said: “It is common ground that the industry faced unprecedented public pressure to increase the price received by farmers for their milk.\”

Indeed: the pressure was to overturn the market outcome. For which everyone then got prosecuted.

the OFT has already been forced to scrap investigations into milk and butter pricing and make a £100,000 libel payout to Wm Morrison.

9 comments on “Tesco and cheese

  1. Indeed, this is why the USA and Australia have a separation of powers enshrined in thier constitution. The judicial power of the State, that is making decisions to determine disputes, can only be exercised by a judiciary. For example, when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wants to fine someone for price fixing or cartel like behaviour they have to put all the evidence before a judge and the judge makes the decision.

    It is an old principle of the common law that one cannot be a judge in one’s own cause. The proliferation of quangos with “quasi-judicial” powers is abhorrent.

  2. The history of the global oil industry is punctuated at regular intervals – about once a decade – of the US government pushing its oil companies into cooperating and sharing information in order to increase energy security and/or ease prices at the pump, only for a different branch of the very same US government to prosecute them a year or so later for engaging in the very anti-trust practices they had adopted – sometimes reluctantly – as a result.

  3. Why do banks always just pay up the fines levied on them by the FSA? Do they think it’s just a cost of doing business?

  4. These sort of things happen because the Regulators forget the words of our Lord and Saviour – Bless’d be the Cheesemakers.

    OK, I’ll get my coat. Tossers. The regulators, that is.

  5. I don’t think much of supermarket cheese but I can report that Tesco’s Wookey Hole is pretty decent by the standards of that sort of thing.

  6. “Why do banks always just pay up the fines levied on them by the FSA? Do they think it’s just a cost of doing business?”

    Banks can only do business if licensed by the State, there aren’t many other industries like this. I’m sure even the slightest risk that the State might fuck them over just for shits and giggles is enough for them to cave in to even the most blatant State rackets.

  7. If only Tesco had called it “The Common Agricultural Policy” instead they’d have been fine.

    The biggest rackets and Ponzi schemes are run by States.

  8. Tesco’s crime is letting a supplier tell competitors its prices instead of letting them walk round a Tesco store with a notebook!!
    All the supermarkets check each others prices and most of them put up little notes saying “cheaper than AsDa” or “the same price as Tesco” or “cheaper than Sainsburys”. It isn’t actually possible to hide your prices from competitors while making them visible to customers.
    So what is the point of banning them just telling each other?

  9. “Tesco’s Wookey Hole is pretty decent by the standards of that sort of thing.”

    I Googled Wookey Hole and got a rather sexually adventurous pose of Chewbacca from Star Wars exposing his buff sheriff’s badge.

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