Driving school 'cartels' under fire
27 April 2005, BRUSSELS – Driving schools have been criticised by Belgium's consumer watchdog for forming cartels to fix prices in the sector.
27 April 2005
BRUSSELS – Driving schools have been criticised by Belgium's consumer watchdog for forming cartels to fix prices in the sector.
An investigation carried out by Test-Achats has revealed that between 75 and 80 percent of Wallonian and Flemish driving schools offer the same rates to customers.
The consumer organisation has now filed an official complaint for illegal and anti-competitive practices.
Currently in Belgium, the driving school market is made up of 210 companies that group together 550 schools.
According to Test-Achats representative Ivo Mechels, the survey was carried out on 102 driving schools in the country's largest towns.
The study showed a clearly that prices were fixed by around 65 percent of the schools.
In Wallonia and Flanders 75 and 78 percent respectively have the same tariff grid.
The situation is healthier in Brussels where there is a variation of price of between 11 and 13 percent.
The watchdog also found that more than half of driving schools are breaking the law by not displaying their tariffs, while some have even been accused of misleading customers.
Mobility Minister Renaat Landuyt has now promised to take action to free up the driving school market.
Test-Achats also studied the success rates of the different methods of learning to drive.
Currently four methods exist, three of which require compulsory attendance of a driving school, for a period of ten, twenty or fourteen hours with the Belgian AA.
The alternative is to learn to drive independently of formal lessons.
According to the statistics, the second model of twenty hours or learning independently attract 40 percent of driving candidates.
Success rates for all four models all lie between 60 and 70 percent, with the AA lessons on top.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news