The aim of the protection of market competition is primarily to create benefits for consumers and equal conditions for all entrepreneurs on the market, who, acting in accordance with the existing rules and competing on the market with the quality, price and innovation of their products and services, contribute to the overall development of the economy.
High Administrative Court rejects claims in Split driving schools’ case
In its decision of 30 December 2019, the Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) found that fourteen driving schools in Split area had concluded a prohibited cartel agreement. The total fine for the infringement imposed by the CCA was HRK 465.000.
The CCA found that fourteen driving schools colluded on the increase of the price of the category B licence driver training. The prohibited agreement started to apply on 1 January 2018. The CCA followed the comments made by the representatives of the driving schools in the media that were sufficient for the CCA to open the case and carry out surprise inspections on the business premises of the driving schools where it collected evidence on the operation of this price fixing agreement.
In the course of the proceeding the CCA collected substantial evidence on the existence of the cartel based on the comments made by the representatives and employees of the driving schools in the media, the collected information, documents and records and the statements received from the representatives of the driving schools. Most significant evidence that was detected by the forensic experts of the CCA was found in the communication between the driving schools on WhatsApp massaging platform.
Five driving schools – Bul d.o.o., Croatia start obrt za autoškolu, Auto škola Hajduk d.o.o., Auto škola Dalmacija and Auto škola AMK Split d.o.o. took action challenging the CCA decision.
On 21 July 2021 the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia rejected the claims concerned as unfounded. The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia upheld the decision of the CCA and found that the facts of the case had been properly established, the substantive law correctly applied and the appropriate sanction imposed.