2017-04-06 13: 56: 45.0
Onlineshopping companies may not prohibit online merchants from price comparisons
It is a judgment that customers could look forward to: Manufacturers must not prohibit the use of price-cutting machines. The Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf thus follows the cartel office.
The Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf has strengthened the Federal Cartel Office’s fight against competition restrictions in the online trade. The first cartel case confirmed a decision of the competition authorities, in which it prohibited the manufacturer of the footwear Asics from forbiding its contractors to use prisso machines. This was announced on Thursday by a court spokesperson.
President Andreas Mundt welcomed the decision. “Pre-press machines on the Internet are an important means for consumers to get transparent information on prices and to compare them,” emphasized the competitor. In addition, they are important for small and medium-sized traders to be found. Therefore it is important for the cartel office that manufacturers do not generally prohibit their dealers from the use of price-cutting machines.
Ascis is not allowed to hide from the prisso machines
The sports shoe manufacturer Asics had forbidden its contractors until two years ago to use search engines for price comparisons in the online trade. The Bundeskartellamt saw this as an impermissible restriction on competition. The prohibitions were “primarily to control the price competition”. The authorities therefore prohibited them. Asics wanted to reach an injunction before the Oberlandesgericht. However, the appeal was dismissed by the court.
At an oral hearing on Wednesday, the Kartellsat had already expressed serious doubts as to the admissibility of the ban on the price of the machines in the Asics contracts. According to the chairman, Jürgen Kühnen, the ban is a restriction of competition for traders. They are deprived of the possibility of advertising and marketing.
The Asics attorney, Ingo Brinker, emphasized in court that the company is concerned about the “legitimate protection of a premium brand image” and the associated consulting quality. This can not be reconciled with price-cutting machines.
Customer advice is no argument for court
The judge, however, was not convinced by the need for extensive consultation. He himself likes to wear jogger shoes from the manufacturer. But he also knew that he did not need a new consultation as a runner. And if you shop online, this often does not. In addition, consumers are in a position to differentiate between price-cutting machines and the brand name of the manufacturer or his contractors.
The procedure has been followed with great attention. The German Trade Association (HDE) had warned before the decision that a judgment in favor of Asics had negative consequences not only for smaller traders, but also for consumers: “The price competition could be de facto restricted to consumers.”