21sep taxi company fine hero
News
1 October 2021

Wellington taxi company fined $150,000 over price-fixing

A Wellington taxi company has been ordered to pay a $150,000 penalty after admitting it colluded with two competitors to fix minimum prices for fares.

Hutt and City Taxis breached the Commerce Act by agreeing with two of its competitors to implement a minimum $25 charge for pick-up trips from the on-demand Wellington Airport taxi rank last year.

The Commerce Commission took legal action against Hutt and City in May this year, referring to the company’s actions as cartel conduct that harms consumers and other businesses that are trying to compete fairly.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said price-fixing stifles competition and hurts consumers who end up paying more.

“While cases are less common in New Zealand than overseas, recent changes to the Commerce Act have beefed up penalties as a deterrent,” Duffy said.

“Business owners should be aware that they could face jail time if they’re caught colluding with their competitors. Hutt and City Taxis appears to be lucky to get away with a fine at the lower end of what could have been imposed. Other businesses should take notice that the courts are taking this type of conduct seriously.”

The High Court ordered Hutt and City Taxis to pay the $150,000 penalty in instalments over the next four years.

Member comments

Get access to comment

Alan U.
03 Oct 2021
Auckland taxis refuse passengers for short distance after show on a wet night

My wife and I left Whangarei to see Lion King at Spark Stadium (6/7/21) & caught a bus from Parnell Rise as it was too wet a night to walk. After the show there were many maxis lined up but we went from one to the next in pouring rain and were consistently refused passage when the drivers found our ride was just a short one. We finally secured a taxi by getting the Hotel to order one. The hotel said drivers didn't like short trips because it put them back at the end of the line after.