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BWB/Decision to impose against electronic industry and electronic supply

​21.03.2014, Vienna. At the end of February 2014, the BWB imposed five fines due to infringing vertical price maintenance in combination with coordinated behavior, which partly resulted in a disruption of the trade sale "online sales" of consumer electronics and household appliances.

21.03.2014, Vienna. At the end of February 2014, the BWB imposed five fines due to infringing vertical price maintenance in combination with coordinated behavior, which partly resulted in a disruption of the trade sale "online sales" of consumer electronics and household appliances.

The national competition authority (BWB) imposed five fines at the end of February, in the amount of EUR 2.1 Mio against Austrian businesses in the electronic industry and electronic supply. The infringement especially affects consumer electronics and household appliances.

The trigger for these investigations was an article regarding a study about online commerce by the Vienna University of Economic Sciences toward the end of 2011. This study suggested that 47,2% of the questioned online commerce, stated that the electronic industry lays down the resale prices. Lower deviations of the given default price level are corrected by pressure (i.e. cancellation of selective contracts, refusal to supply, etc.). In 2012, the BWB recorded an investigation of the online sales, based on these results, during which the suspicion of anticompetitive price agreements in the electronic industry in relation to the resale prices of the retail market, was confirmed.

A conduct that violates the antitrust laws occurs when, in combination with price maintenance measures, a trade sale (online sale) is hindered in order to uphold the system of price maintenance. With this in mind, the elimination (or disablement) of an active price internet provider could be capable and supposed to uphold the overall dominant price stability or rather re-establish.