A US consumer organization is taking aim at EssilorLuxottica SA – the world’s largest eyewear manufacturer – accusing it of running a price-fixing cartel that increased prices for eyewear and sunglasses up to 11 times their normal price.
The organization is accusing EssilorLuxottica of “monopolistic behavior and unfair competition”, with prices having been artificially inflated by up to 1,000%.
The French-Italian owner of the Ray-Ban and Oakley eyewear brands has been identified as the “instigator and primary enforcer” of the alleged scheme.
The consumer organization is taking the eyewear giant to court in San Francisco, claiming EssilorLuxottica schemed with over twenty manufacturers – such as Frames For America and For Eyes Optical – as well as its own subsidiary EyeMed, to keep prices for eyewear and sunglasses artificially high.
“This illegal behavior deprived millions of Americans of the benefit of competitive pricing on their eyewear purchases, and harmed dozens of honest businesses that chose not to participate in the price-fixing scheme,” says lead counsel of the organisation.
The organization say they represent eyewear consumers from all over the country, and are pushing for a “full investigation” and “lasting solutions” in order to stop any further price-fixing cartels.
The suit implicates EssilorLuxottica in several other high-level deals, such as with luxury eyewear brands Swarovski, Brunello Cucinelli and Armani Group.
In a statement, the organization said: “Our suit seeks not only our clients’ money back, but also a full investigation of the scope and scale of EssilorLuxottica’s illegal conduct. Americans deserve free markets and fair prices, and our suit will help ensure that EssilorLuxottica no longer profits by violating the law.”
EssilorLuxottica is yet to respond to the allegations. If found guilty, the eyewear company could face heavy fines and other legal sanctions, with the consumer organization stressiously urging for an “immediate action” for the sake of lowered prices and a fair marketplace. “We are prepared to pursue compensation for defrauded consumers and an end to price-fixing,” they said.
Source: Fashion United