By publishing decisions, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) wishes to achieve the best possible result for businesses and consumers. ACM wishes to do so by:
- Being transparent about the way it applies the rules;
- Accounting for its actions;
- Warning harmed business and consumers (if harmed at all);
- Deterring potential violators.
ACM publishes sanction decisions
After we have investigated a violation, we present the results thereof in a report. Based on this report, we may decide to impose a sanction, for example a fine or an order subject to periodic penalty payments. We will publish the sanction decision, but not the underlying report. In the sanction decision, we will indicate the legal status of the decision, for example, if parties have the opportunity to file an objection against the fine.
ACM releases a public version of the sanction decision
We do not publish any commercially sensitive information. We release a public version of the decision, and send this to the party involved. The party will have the opportunity to respond to this version. If the party involved believes that this version still contains confidential information, it can inform ACM thereof, supported with reasons. We will then assess what parts we will include in the final, public version of the decision. We will send the final version together with a publication decision to the party involved. We will release the public version of the sanction decision on our website, at the earliest, ten workdays thereafter.
ACM informs the public through press releases
ACM publishes the sanction decision together with a press release on its website. We inform the parties involved in advance about the press release’s contents and the expected time of publication. If the press release contains price-sensitive information, we will publish it if the stock exchange, on which that company is listed, is closed. The press release will be published on both the Dutch-language and the English-language versions of ACM’s website.
ACM also publishes other decisions
Next to sanction decisions, we also publish other decisions on our website such as concentration decisions, method decisions, market analysis decisions, tariff decisions, and supply licenses. If such decisions contain price-sensitive information, we will draw up a public version of the decision in question. The party/parties involved will have the opportunity to respond to this public version. If the decision is in the interest of the public at large, we may decide to publish an accompanying press release. In that case, we will inform the parties involved in advance about the press release’s contents and the expected time of publication.
The procedure as described above is for informational purposes only, and does not confer any rights. There may be compelling reasons for deviating from the abovementioned procedure, for example if a party itself chooses to publish confidential information. For us, that may be reason to decide to publish after all. This procedure is based on the Act on the amendment of the Establishment Act of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets of June 26, 2014, in which all laws and regulations ACM enforces have been streamlined. For ACM, that is the legal basis for the publication of decisions and other documents.
More information about the Establishment Act:
http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0033043/ (in Dutch, most recent version)
https://www.acm.nl/en/about-acm/mission-vision-strategy/legislation/ (in English, version of June 2014)