The competition authorities in Finland appear to believe that big companies are god’s gift to Finnish consumers. We have a great collection of such companies that own around between 30% to 40% market shares in retail, banking, fuel, telecoms, dairy products, pensions, media, and forestry, etc.
We never hear much from the competition authorities so we must assume that consumers are getting a great deal.
If competition is so good then why do we pay premium prices food, banking services, power, housing, etc., compared to other similar countries or regions in Europe?
Australia have recently punished their banks for misbehaviour. The biggest four are expected to pay some €1.5 billion in fines for money laundering, mis-selling financial products, interest rate rigging, and other misdemeanours.
In the UK, the competition authorities have seen that big companies have taken advantage of their clients purchasing data to target them for more expensive offers in their “Customer Loyalty Programs”.
It sound ridiculous but these companies have used data mining and AI to target customers who may be too old or too busy to check prices. One example is the new practice of paying an extra cost for seats for families to sit together on flights. FinnishNews has reported that Finnair is probably doing the same – families and couple are regularly separated if they do not buy seats when they buy their tickets. The competition authorities in the UK have also found that power companies are also targeting gullible customers (pensioners and working single mothers) with high-priced electricity and gas contracts.
The mis-selling of insurance and housing loans by UK and American banks has been one of the biggest scandalous this last decade costing banks billions in fines in both countries….
… and yet what do we hear here in Finland? Nothing appears to be the answer. There is no investigation about price cartels, banks are not being investigated for mis-selling financial products and insurance. Just try working out what is the best insurance or pension policy. You need a degree in mathematics to fathom out the right answer. It is the same with health insurance. Why are Finnair’s domestic flights many times more expensive than Norwegian’s? Why do domestic flights cost relatively more than international flights…
Is it too much to ask for more rigorous controls of this big monopoly companies that appear not to hesitate to gouge consumers who have little choice?
Competition is limited because we have so many dominant companies that thwart true competition. The only competition the present government appears to be interested in is opening up the public sector to private competition as in healthcare and care of the aged. The result has been terrifying with the big private companies talking about productivity and profits rather that high standard of care. When you are old and poorly, when you are demented and unable to speak, it is too late to change the system that lets you sit in your bed in a lonely room with wet nappies… How we wish that is not a reality today in many care homes.