BMA hits back at critics over CMA fine

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association has responded to claims that it hasn’t taken a strong enough stance against the two-year Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the sanitaryware sector.

Many suppliers and retailers have reacted angrily to the probe, which saw bathroom fittings specialist Ultra Finishing fined £826,000 by the CMA for preventing retailers from discounting online prices.

One source, who wished to remain anonymous, described the CMA’s attitude as “disgraceful and utterly intolerant”, questioning why Ultra had “taken the rap on behalf of the whole industry”.

He went on to suggest the BMA would “lie on their back and have their tummies tickled” over the issue, rather than take an independent stance.

However, BMA chief executive Yvonne Orgill (pictured) insisted such accusations were wide of the mark.

“The responsibility of any trade body is to keep their members informed and offer the right information for companies to make commercial decisions that keep them within the boundaries of the law, thus ensuring compliance,” she said.

“The reason why the CMA contacted the BMA, which resulted in their invite to attend the BMA 2016 AGM, which, I hasten to add was fully supported by the membership, proved to be a useful platform for the CMA to explain their actions to a wider church and provided much needed fact, not speculation, on recent activity. They also explained, as your article in the October issue states, that they are seeking to improve knowledge and understanding in our industry on competition law. This is one benefit of being a member.

“The BMA does not, and has not ‘lain on their backs to enjoy their tummies tickled’. Quite the opposite.

“The CMA issue will run and run,” Orgill concluded, “and I fear many are burying their heads, not realising this is the ‘law’ and one that cannot be compromised.”

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