Shouldn’t customers be recompensed?

By | Category: Travel news
cartoon of angry suitcase

Shouldn’t drivers who parked at East Midlands be compensated? © Dan Sperrin

East Midlands Airport has avoided a £12.5 million pound fine for price-fixing after agreeing to fully co-operate with investigators. The CAA has found that the airport and Prestige Parking Ltd (now closed down) broke competition law by agreeing to fix prices of car parking services at the airport.
The CAA found the two companies agreed that Prestige should not sell its car parking services at the airport at below a minimum price, which was linked to the price of the airport’s own car parking services.

EMIA imposed this requirement as a condition of allowing Prestige to access facilities at the airport for over five years, from October 2007, at the latest, and September 2012. Without this access, Prestige would not have been able to provide car parking services to its customers on the airport site.

The CAA director of markets and consumers Richard Moriarty said: “Competition at airports is crucial to ensure that consumers benefit from choice and value for the whole passenger journey, including for services such as car parking at the airport.  “The fact that an airport operator owns land at the airport on which an independent business operates, does not mean that the airport can dictate the price of services sold by that independent business.  This is the CAA’s first competition investigation and we found that both parties independently identified that their agreement might harm competition but failed to act on it.”

On the wider stage the CAA has called for airports to review commercial agreements to make sure they comply.

The airport and the company agreed that they had broken competition law. Although the parking company is no longer around to be sued, the airport is and the comments suggest that it was the perpetrator. In 2001 the airport was bought and became part of MAG – Manchester Airports Group – so did it know of this arrangement? That East Midlands was voted Best Regional UK Airport for Customer Service in 2013 – the year after the arrangement ended – is a little galling in retrospect.

The CAA has found against them yet there is no announcement at all on what customers who parked at the airport between 2007 and 2012 would get in the way of recompense. With the PPP debacle and the Libor scandal, there have been compensation schemes. Where is such a scheme for those who parked? At the very least they should get discounted parking in the future. At most they should have their parking fees refunded.

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