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Court rulings

Highest administrative-law court rules in the case involving postal operator PostNL and a former Section of the Dutch Postal Act

02-06-2020

Today, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), which is the highest administrative-law court in the Netherlands, handed down its ruling in the appeal proceedings in the case about Dutch postal operator PostNL charging rival postal operators tariffs for delivery of business bulk mail. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) had imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments on PostNL. PostNL subsequently adjusted its tariffs and conditions. The CBb has now ruled in favor of PostNL. This means that the order subject to periodic penalty payments had been wrongfully imposed.

The District Court of Rotterdam previously ruled in favor of ACM, but, according to the CBb, there was insufficient evidence that PostNL had violated Section 9, paragraph 1 of the 2009 Dutch Postal Act. The case revolved around a non-discrimination obligation, which is no longer included in the Dutch Postal Act. ACM launched the case in 2015, when these statutory obligations were still in place, following complaints received from rival postal operators. PostNL filed an appeal against this ruling with the Cbb. As a result of protracted legal proceedings, the final ruling in this case has only been handed down now.

Background

This case revolved around business bulk mail: mail from businesses, such as daily mail from the mail room or large mailings. PostNL in 2014 forced rival postal operators to purchase the more expensive service Multiple Sender Addresses (DivA) for sending bulk mail. Following complaints from two smaller postal operators, Van Straaten Post (VSP) and Intrapost (IP), ACM imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments prohibiting that practice.

See also

02-06-2020 The Cbb’s ruling on this case  (in Dutch)