Maruti Suzuki has been slapped with a Rs 200 Crore fine by CCI (Competition Commission of India) over the Dealer Discount Policy. This is interesting information as to how Maruti is trying to kill the competition using some shady tactics. According to this Dealer Discount Policy, Maruti is allegedly discouraging the dealership to offer discounts from their side. Only the discounts offered by Maruti Suzuki are applicable. The dealers are left with no choice but to follow suit to avoid penalties from the carmaker. Here are all the details of this saga.
Maruti Rs 200 Crore Fine
The CCI is responsible for ensuring fair and healthy competition among the carmakers in India so that the customers can get benefitted in the end. It passed the order stating Maruti pays Rs 200 Crore as a fine for promoting anti-trust practices. Both dealerships and customers have to bear the brunt of such measures and only Maruti stands to benefit from it. The dealerships were refrained from offering any additional discounts on Maruti products other than the ones specified by the carmaker. In order to ensure that these policies were being followed by all the dealerships, Maruti established Mystery Shopping Agencies (MSAs) to monitor the situation on the ground.
They would come as customers and check if any dealership is offering any discount other than what Maruti is offering. They have video/audio recording equipment to take back to Maruti as proof. This was termed as Mystery Shopping Audit Report. If found guilty, the dealerships had to provide a satisfactory reason to offer additional benefits to the customers. If not, Maruti would impose penalties on the staff and the entire team. This practice is unethical on multiple fronts. The shady MSA approach is quite shady, to begin with. It is invading the privacy of the employees without their knowledge. In broader terms, this made the life of dealership, staff and customers difficult and killed the competition.
The official statement issued by the carmaker states, “We have seen the order dated 23 August 2021 published by the Competition Commission of India. We are examining the order and will take appropriate actions under the law. MSIL has always worked in the best interests of consumers and will continue to do so in the future.” Now, it remains to be seen what comes out of this debacle and how Maruti Suzuki deals with it.