After being notified by a whistle-blower, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (BWB) discovered a number of shops had worked together to ensure price-fixing on the rental of alpine skis, ski boots and snowboard and servicing for skis and snowboards.

They also worked together to ‘share out’ the market between them with travel agents in resort, although the travel agents were unaware of this practice.

The 4 shops who were caught and fined are…

Sports & Pangratz Ess GmbH, with a¬†fine of ‚ā¨¬†144,000,
Alber Sport GmbH, with a fine of ‚ā¨136,000,
Sport Jennewein Martin eU, with a fine of ‚ā¨128,000 and
Sport Fauner GmbH & Co KG, with a fine of ‚ā¨¬†11,200

The BWB is now examining other¬†ski resorts to see if there are other cases of this practice. ¬†A spokesman for the BWB said “We identify with ski articles and winter tourism in other ski areas in Tirol and in other states,”

In my mind, this also helps answer the perennial question of whether to buy in resort or buy at home, I think I’ll continue to buy at home.

The ruling can be seen here: http://www.bwb.gv.at/Aktuell/Seiten/K-394-Geldbu%C3%9Fenentscheidung-gegen-4-Sportartikelh%C3%A4ndler.aspx