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Antitrust: Commission opens three investigations into suspected anticompetitive practices in e-commerce | European Commission

The three investigations opened today by the Commission aim to tackle the specific issues of retail price restrictions, discrimination on the basis of location and geo-blocking. The preliminary results of the Commission’s competition sector inquiry on e-commerce show that the use of these restrictions is widespread throughout the EU.

Under certain circumstances, these practices may make cross-border shopping or online shopping in general more difficult and ultimately harm consumers by preventing them from benefiting from greater choice and lower prices in e-commerce. Such behaviour may breach EU competition rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements between companies (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU).

Consumer electronics manufacturers
The Commission is investigating whether Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer have breached EU competition rules by restricting the ability of online retailers to set their own prices for widely used consumer electronics products such as household appliances, notebooks and hi-fi products.

The effect of these suspected price restrictions may be aggravated due to the use by many online retailers of pricing software that automatically adapts retail prices to those of leading competitors. As a result, the alleged behaviour may have had a broader impact on overall online prices for the respective consumer electronics products.

The Commission is carrying out this in-depth investigation on its own initiative.

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European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Antitrust: Commission opens three investigations into suspected anticompetitive practices in e-commerce.