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Competition regulator demands big fines for driving school cartel

A cartel of driving schools in Uusimaa conspired to raise prices, according to the regulator.

Valkoinen kolmio ajo-opetusautossa.
Learning to drive is an expensive business in Finland. Image: Rolf Granqvist / Yle

Driving schools in Uusimaa clubbed together to keep prices high, according to Finland’s competition regulator.

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) says eight driving schools and the Uusimaa regional driving school association should be hit with fines totalling some 300,000 euros.

The biggest fine proposal for an individual school was 61,200 euros.

A final decision on the fines will be made by the Market Court.

The FCCA says that the conspiracy centred on Porvoo, with three businesses in the picturesque riverside town agreeing to keep their prices higher than the market would otherwise permit.

According to the FCCA, those involved in the conspiracy had agreed in 2013 to raise the price of a course leading to a B-license, which is the first license that allows people to drive a normal car.

Association chair Helen Högström told Yle that she was not yet in a position to comment on the 100-page judgement.

"But of course our view differs from the regulator’s," said Högström. "We’ll digest this and consider further action. Of course we should also give the Market Court peace to work."

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