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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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The World Competition Day - online sales

< previous | next > 05.12.2018

The World Competition Day - online sales
  • The President of UOKiK has initiated proceedings against Yamaha Music Europe.
  • The Authority suspects that the Company was illicitly fixing prices of music equipment with online sellers.
  • On the World Competition Day we would like to remind you that price fixing disadvantages consumers who have to pay more for goods or services

Pursuant to competition protection regulations, independent economic operators are banned from fixing prices at which their products or services are sold. The arrangements may involve competitors or economic operators conducting operations at different levels of the trade process (e.g. manufacturer - retailer). Price fixing schemes disadvantage consumers who have to pay more than in situations in which the prices are determined in a competitive environment. UOKiK suspects that a price fixing scheme was in place at Yamaha Music Europe.

“We collected significant evidence confirming that Yamaha Music Europe was fixing the minimum prices at which instruments were sold online. There is ample proof that the consumers have been overpaying for the goods since 2004,” says Marek Niechciał, the President of UOKiK.

The Authority’s findings show that the company’s commercial partners were most likely relying on fixed prices over the period of more than 10 years. The individual retailers kept a watchful eye over one another, and informed Yamaha Music Poland if any of them was selling music equipment any cheaper. In such a situation, the Company requested the particular retailer to adjust their price list accordingly, and if such a request proved to be ineffective, it canceled, in come cases, the benefits offered, such as preferential pricing, supply of rare instruments, quicker deliveries or events with the participation of musicians.

A fine of up to 10 per cent of its sales may be imposed on any undertaking that takes part in a competition-restricting scheme. The investigation is conducted pursuant to EU legislation as well, as the practice concerned may impact trade between the EU Member States. The practices of musical instrument producers are also under the close scrutiny of anti-monopoly authorities operating in other countries.

 “Online purchases become a phenomenon that is gaining in popularity every single year. That is why competition protection authorities from the world over needs to pay particular attention to verifying whether online sales do not involve any price fixing schemes, as these finally lead to increasing the prices paid by consumers. Entrepreneurs selling their products online may also be tempted to rely on advanced technologies assisting them in implementing competition-restricting practices. It is the aim of the anti-monopoly authorities to foresee and detect such schemes. This is one of the issues we discuss at the World Competition Day conference,” says Michał Holeksa, Deputy President of UOKiK.

The “Competition in the Digital Era” conference is held at the  Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology. The event is organized by: UOKiK, Stowarzyszenie Prawa Konkurencji and Positive Competition. The topics to be discussed include, inter alia, the following: impact of digital technologies on competition. The participants discuss application of competition laws and economies in the context of online platforms, price algorithms and new technologies (including blockchain). The other topic to be discussed is the manner in which information is acquired by anti-monopoly authorities, as well as the protection of those who bring the illicit practices to light. The meeting was opened by a letter from Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

The World Competition Day is organized on the 5th of December each year by the non-governmental organization called Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) and by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: 695 902 088, 22 55 60 430
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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