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ACM to publish guidelines regarding the rules for platform companies and online businesses

Online platforms, such as marketplaces, search engines, and booking sites, need more clarity about how to interpret the Platform-to-Business Regulation (P2B Regulation). This has been one of the conclusions of a market study that the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted. The P2B Regulation contains rules about, for example, what information businesses must receive when offering services or goods to consumers using such online platforms. A bill has been sent to the Dutch Council of State, which proposes to charge ACM with enforcement of these rules. That is why ACM has already started drawing up guidelines in which it will clarify the rules that platforms and search engines must meet.

Since June 2020, online platforms have to comply with the rules laid down in the European Platform-to-Business regulation, which seeks to guarantee a competitive, fair, and transparent online market on which businesses act responsibly.

“In our market study, we have found that, in practice, the open standards in the P2B Regulation are interpreted in different ways. By issuing guidelines, we are able to provide clarity about how ACM, as the regulator enforcing these rules, will interpret these standards, thereby clarifying to platforms what they need to do, and ensuring that their business customers know what their rights are”, explains Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM. ACM aims to publish the guidelines this fall for public consultation.

Businesses are increasingly dependent on platforms and online search engines for reaching their customers. That is why it is important that platforms and online search engines give clear and up-to-date information to businesses that wish to use their services. If ACM is charged with enforcement of the P2B Regulation in the Netherlands, ACM will be able to protect businesses if platforms give them incomplete information about the ranking of products and services on the platform.

General terms and conditions

The P2B Regulation stipulates, among other things, that the general terms and conditions for businesses must be clear and easily available. In the general terms and conditions, platforms must explain, for example, how disputes are settled and what parameters influence the rankings. If the platform also sells services or products of its own, it needs to explain whether, why and how it treats its own services or products differently than the products or services of businesses. 

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