General information about the operation of Cartel Chat
What is Cartel Chat?
- Cartel Chat is an anonymous information channel, the closed system of which provides an opportunity for anyone to share information with the staff of the Hungarian Competition Authority anonymously about anti-competitive agreements that potentially or actually constitute a competition law infringement.
Cartel Chat essentially acts as a source of information for the Hungarian Competition Authority. The information and documents uploaded to Cartel Chat do not oblige the Hungarian Competition Authority to conduct a formal complaint proceeding, an informal complaint proceeding, or a competition supervision proceeding under the provisions of the Hungarian Competition Act.
- If a message sent on the Cartel Chat aims to remedy an individual violation of a right or an interest, and the complainant has standing in the proceedings before the Hungarian Competition Authority, but s/he has failed to request a judicial review of the decision closing the proceedings within the time limit prescribed by the Competition Act, the message sent on the Cartel Chat will be closed without any substantive investigation. The Cartel Chat is not a substitute for enforcing the rights of individuals who have standing in a concrete case.
How to start the Cartel Chat and how to initiate a conversation?
- As part of a short registration, anyone can set up their own chat user account with a username and a password. Once set up, all future communication will take place through the user’s personal chat account. It is important to remember your username and password, as this is the only way you can log into the account you have created. Although it is possible to use the ¢forgotten password¢ function, the system will only send the new password to the specified e-mail address, in which case the e-mail address will not be stored. If you are unable to enter your e-mail address, you will need to create a new account.
- After logging in, the user may write a message by clicking on the 'New Topic' button and may attach a file up to 10 MB.
- The conversations of the user are separated according to topics, so if you want to send messages about several different topics, it is always necessary to start a 'New Topic' for each separate topic.
Given that the user logs into the Cartel Chat anonymously and does not receive a separate notification if his/her message is answered, messages can be tracked – i.e. whether the messages has been answered by the Hungarian Competition Authority – by the user logging back into his/her user account. It is important to remember the username and password you received, because this is the only way to log in to the account you have created.
Who does the person 'talk to' when writing a message?
- The chat works as a closed interface, which means that only the designated experts of the Hungarian Competition Authority can access the conversations. The chatters (messengers) will be contacted by a designated employee of the Hungarian Competition Authority.
When is Cartel Chat available?
- Informants can use the Cartel Chat (registration, communication) 24 hours a day. The staff of the Hungarian Competition Authority takes part in the chat communication from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Friday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm) on working days.
Can others see the messages?
- No. All users can only see chats initiated and continued in their own account. Users only have messaging, reading and uploading rights to the interface.
What can typically be the subject of a message?
Pursuant to Article 11 (1) of the Competition Act, agreements between undertakings which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition, shall be prohibited. These are typically the following:
- when competitors fix their prices or certain price elements, when setting minimum prices or a standard pricing formula, when deciding on price differences between different products, when standardising or even eliminating price reductions,
- when competitors agree to share a market based on a particular criterion, such as geographic area, time, product or specific clients,
- when undertakings agree on the limitation or control of their production/distribution quantity or capacity,
- collusion between competing bidders in tenders, public procurement procedures and other tenders,
- sharing of strategic information with or among competitors, especially for the future (e.g. planned pricing, planned strategic steps, etc.),
- a professional meeting between competitors where the parties agree on future behaviour and strategies to be followed in connection with a new piece of legislation,
- setting and prescribing mandatory consumer prices or minimum resale prices, or forcing the application of recommended consumer prices
- a total ban or restriction on online sales for distributors.
What is the difference between the chat and the informal complaint or formal complaint under the provisions of the Competition Act?
- In connection with the formal complaint, it is of paramount importance that the complainant under the Competition Act provides all the facts, data and information already in the formal complaint, on the basis of which the substantive examination can be carried out. In the case of Cartel Chat, in the framework of the communication with a designated employee of the Hungarian Competition Authority, the process may be targeted in view of the formal complaint submitted.
- The complainant shall be informed by the Hungarian Competition Authority of the measures taken with regard to the formal complaint; in the case of the Cartel Chat, the Authority shall only provide feedback in justified cases.
- In the case of an informal complaint, the Hungarian Competition Authority shall notify the complainant if the complainant can be identified, and a competition supervision procedure has been initiated on the basis of the informal complaint. In contrast, Cartel Chat is a channel for providing information where anonymity, adapted to the function of the system, is fully provided to the person who submitted the informal complaint (user).
The Cartel Chat service is unable to help regarding the following cases:
- issues related to the provision of opinions and exemptions,
- infringements other than those regulated in Article 11 of the Competition Act and
- issues falling outside the competence of the Hungarian Competition Authority.
No one likes to be flooded with unwanted (spam) messages, and this site is not for that purpose either. Messages of this nature and the user associated with them will be excluded immediately. Messages obviously of bad faith or containing grossly false information and the user associated with them will be excluded immediately.