It is becoming a practice that companies involved in cartels are being sued by market players who have suffered losses as a consequence of a cartel and now want to recover the extra costs they have incurred. The new provisions based on an EU directive and adopted in Hungarian legislation early this year to help the effectiveness of claims for damages are slowly achieving their objective.
While cartel agreements distort the market and, as a result, may entail severe fines from the competition authority, they also cause damage to other market players and even consumers, who may have to pay higher prices for certain goods and services. Several companies participating in cartels were sued for damages on these grounds in the past, but enforcing claims proved rather cumbersome and complicated. In the last few years it was mainly the victims of public procurement cartels who tried to be compensated for the losses they sustained, but in most cases these proceedings were not a complete success.