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AFCA granted right of action in relation to P2B Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services

The EU Regulation on platform-to-business relations (P2B Regulation), which promotes fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (online e-commerce market places, online software applications services and online social media services) and online search engines, entered into force on 12 July 2020 and is directly applicable in all Member States. The aim of the Regulation is to create a fair and trusted online business environment. It seeks to ensure transparency, clear rules and effective remedies.

The P2B Regulation requires providers of online intermediation services to adhere to the following rules:

  • General terms and conditions: terms and conditions as well as rights of termination need to be drafted in clear, fair and transparent language.
  • Rankings: the main parameters determining ranking should be set out in the terms and conditions in a plain and intelligible manner.
  • Complaints: provision of an internal system for handling the complaints of business users swiftly.
  • Access to data: description of any rights of access and use of business users' data and of the use of that data for commercial purposes.

For further obligations and the full text of the P2B Regulation, please refer to the relevant site on EUR-Lex here.

AFCA granted the right to take action in case of breaches

Since 10 September 2020 the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) has held the right to take action to stop or prohibit any non-compliance by providers of online intermediation services or by providers of online search engines with the relevant requirements laid down in the P2B Regulation. In addition to the AFCA, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Austrian Association for Protection against Unfair Competition were also granted a right of action.

The P2B Regulation ensures that the bargaining power among businesses and online platforms is somewhat evened out and fair relations can be established. We also welcome the obligation to set up an internal complaint-handling process, which we demanded only last year after completing our investigation proceedings against Amazon. Businesses and online platforms need to have legal clarity in order to be able to fulfil consumers' demands effectively,” explains Director General Theodor Thanner.