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ACM launches investigation into illegal arrangements involving IT devices

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched an investigation into potentially illegal arrangements between an internationally operating manufacturer of IT devices and its distributors. In addition, ACM investigates whether the manufacturer possibly abuses a dominant position. ACM suspects the manufacturer, together with its distributors, of deciding what retailers are allowed to supply what customers and at what price. There are also suspicions that retailers are restricted in the sale of refurbished devices. As part of the investigation, ACM has conducted dawn raids at several companies in the Netherlands and Belgium in collaboration with the Belgian competition authority.

Harming end-users

If businesses coordinate their retail prices and share their customers, users will be faced with higher prices and reduced quality of services. More specifically in this investigation, users may also be hindered in purchasing refurbished IT devices. Restricting the sale of refurbished devices is undesirable not just from a competitive point of view but also from a sustainability perspective.

What are the next steps?

ACM will now assess whether the parties involved have actually violated the competition rules. One of the possible outcomes is that ACM may conclude that the law has not been violated. However, if ACM does come to the conclusion that the law has been violated, the companies involved will have the opportunity to tell their side of the story, before ACM imposes any sanction.

Submit tip-offs or report illegal arrangements

Do you work in a sector where IT devices are sold or bought? Do you believe or know that manufacturers, distributors and/or retailers have concluded illegal arrangements? Or would you like to know whether certain practices are allowed? Contact ACM. You can also do so anonymously.