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Applications for findings brought against two musical instrument makers for price fixing

On 2 June 2020 the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed applications with the Cartel Court for the finding of infringements concerning vertical price fixing by two manufacturers of musical instruments.

The infringements concern the vertical price fixing of resale prices for musical instruments sold primarily via online shops. In individual cases, the infringements also concern commercial audio products, electronic musical instruments and related equipment and software.

The AFCA suspects that the vertical price fixing between the manufacturers and retailers is intended to maintain the price level on the consumer market and thus minimise price competition.

The companies submitted an application for leniency. The AFCA may refrain from imposing a fine if the company meets all of the criteria for inclusion in the leniency programme. Accordingly, the AFCA only filed an application with the Cartel Court for findings pursuant to § 28 para. 1 of the Austrian Cartel Act (KartG).

Competition authorities in Germany, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK have conducted numerous investigations into the market for musical instruments during the last few years. These investigations focused on price fixing between musical instrument makers and retailers, and resulted in fines being imposed.