Letter: Hot water for curry houses

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have sympathy for the unfortunate Bangladeshi restaurateurs who are seeking to avoid a ruinous price war between them ('Firms try to cool curry war', 14 September). Unfortunately, if they succeed in achieving the agreement on minimum prices that Ahmed Choudhury is reported to wish for, they may merely be moving out of the fire and straight into a rather hot tandoori oven.

Any such price fixing agreement will be registrable under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 (section 6(1)(a) and (b)). Indeed, the meeting held in Bristol on 13 August may itself have constituted a registrable agreement to exchange price information under the 1976 Act (section 7(1)(a) and (b)) and the 1969 Information Agreements Order.

It will be unlawful for any person party to the actual or proposed arrangements to give effect to, or enforce or purport to enforce, the agreement in respect of the minimum prices, or to exchange price information. The restaurateurs should be careful, as the Office of Fair Trading is vigilant in such cases, and the thought of the customers of Bristol's Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants suing the restaurateurs for having paid too much for their meals is an appalling prospect.

Yours sincerely,

TREVOR SOAMES

Staplehurst,

Kent

15 September

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