The Digital Single Market Strategy Needs To Address Online Marketplace Bans

BY CCIA Staff
April 28, 2015

CCIA coordinated a coalition with European and national e-commerce associations that urged the Commission to address online marketplace bans in the upcoming Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy. We sent out a letter to Commission Vice President Ansip as well as to the other Commissioners who are part of the DSM Project Team.

The letter explains how European SMEs and consumers are currently prevented from reaping the full benefits of e-commerce. Certain manufacturers continue to prevent authorized resellers from selling their products through their shops on online marketplaces. These contractual bans are particularly detrimental to small sellers who use online marketplaces to build up a greater customer base by reaching millions of potential new customers who look for products on those marketplaces.

Consumers are negatively affected as well. Banning the sale of ordinary products through online marketplaces leaves the consumer with less choice and less price transparency. This leads to higher prices.

The letter calls on the Commission to address this issue in the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy. E-commerce in Europe will not live up to its potential if an important online distribution channel will continue to be banned by the unilateral actions of some manufacturers.

It also expresses support for the Commission’s sector inquiry into e-commerce which we hope will shed further light on these unjustified practices. National competition authorities like the German Bundeskartellamt have already declared marketplace bans as anti-competitive.

The European Commission should seize this opportunity and address restrictive practices which constitute a serious barrier to e-commerce hampering consumers, European SMEs and Internet companies alike.

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