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Korean watchdog bites leading tech outfits

by on16 March 2012

y lawbookhammer

Samsung, LG, Pantech, SK Telecom, KT and LG in hot water

Korea's corporate regulator fined some of the country's top IT outfits with a $40.1 million fine for price rigging and consumer fraud. Samsung, LG, Pantech, SK Telecom, KT and LG in hot water along with some key telecommunications companies.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said the companies colluded to inflate the prices of mobile phones and then advertise they were offering considerable incentives. This practice effectively tricked consumers into believing they were getting a bargain for buying new phones. On top of the fine, the companies have been ordered to release information on how much they provided in incentives to fuel sales.

The FTC, in addition, took administrative steps to ban these companies from offering new sales incentives. The worst offender was  SK Telecom followed by Samsung Electronics and mobile carrier KT.

Mobile phone manufacturers marked up the prices of 209 models they handed over to mobile service operators, while operators advertised they were offering discounts on products and services that should not have been so expensive in the first place, the regulator said. "Companies took advantage of the complicated price setting practice in the mobile telecommunications sector to trick consumers," an FTC official said.

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