Competition & Markets Authority
Win in Ping golf clubs case sends clear online retail signal
The Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld the CMA’s decision that Ping Europe Ltd broke the law by banning the online sale of its golf clubs.
This landmark case sends an important signal that attempts by manufacturers to impose absolute bans on selling their products online are not permitted by law.
The Tribunal’s judgment dismissed an appeal by the golf club manufacturer against the CMA’s decision to fine it for breaching competition law and imposed a revised fine of £1.25 million.
In August 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that Ping had breached competition law by preventing 2 UK retailers from selling its golf clubs on their websites.
The Tribunal said it was of the “clear view” that “The potential impact of the ban on consumers and retailers is real and material. It significantly restricts consumers from accessing Ping golf club retailers outside their local area and from comparing prices and it significantly reduces the ability of, and incentives for, retailers to compete for business using the internet.”
Taking various factors into account, the Tribunal lowered the CMA’s original penalty by £200,000 to £1.25 million.
The CMA had accepted that Ping was pursuing a genuine commercial aim of promoting in-store custom fitting, but found that it could have achieved this through less restrictive means.
Following the judgment, Ping must allow retailers to sell online, though it may require them to meet certain conditions before doing so.
Ann Pope, Senior Director for Antitrust Enforcement, said:
This judgment sends a clear message to companies that try to stop customers shopping online for their products - they could be breaking the law. This matters because it removes a barrier to customers shopping around for more affordable goods.
The internet is an increasingly important sales channel and retailers’ ability to sell online, and reach as wide a customer base as possible, should not be unduly restricted by manufacturers.
Find out more about the CMA investigation on the case page.
Latest News from
Competition & Markets Authority
3 directors of office fit-out firms disqualified13/05/2019 09:20:00
The CMA has secured the disqualification of 3 former directors of office fit-out companies for their involvement in illegal cartel behaviour.
Is competition enough? Competition for consumers, on behalf of consumers.09/05/2019 15:20:00
Andrew Tyrie yesterday spoke to the Social Market Foundation about protecting and promoting the consumer interest in the modern economy.
CMA provisionally clears PayPal / iZettle takeover01/05/2019 09:20:00
The CMA has provisionally cleared PayPal’s completed takeover of mobile payments company iZettle after an in-depth, Phase 2, probe.
Construction cartel directors disqualified29/04/2019 10:05:00
The CMA has secured the disqualification of 2 former directors of CPM Group Ltd following CPM’s admission that it breached competition law.
CMA blocks merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda26/04/2019 09:20:00
The CMA has blocked the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger after finding it would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK.
CMA recommends shake-up of UK audit market19/04/2019 09:20:00
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its final report with recommendations to address serious competition problems in the UK audit industry.
Thermo Fisher’s proposed takeover of Gatan raises competition concerns18/04/2019 09:20:00
The CMA has published provisional findings in its inquiry into Thermo Fisher’s proposed purchase of Gatan from Roper Technology.
CMA calls on holiday industry to give customers clearer Ts & Cs17/04/2019 13:20:00
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new campaign to help holiday and travel businesses improve the clarity of their terms and conditions.