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February 29, 2020
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Decision upheld as golf-club manufacturer fined for breaching competition law

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld the CMA’s decision that Gainsborough-based Ping Europe Ltd broke this law by banning the net sale of club sets.

This landmark case sends a very important signal that attempts by manufacturers to impose absolute bans on selling a few online may not be permitted factors.

The Tribunal’s judgment dismissed an appeal because of the club set manufacturer up against the CMA’s decision to fine it for breaching competition law and imposed a revised fine of £1.25 million.

In August 2017, other sellers and Markets Authority (CMA) learned that Ping had breached competition law by preventing 2 UK retailers from selling its golf items on his or her websites.

The Tribunal said today it absolutely 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 driver retailers outside their community and from doing your research but it significantly minimizes the ability of, and incentives for, retailers to compete for business going online.”

Taking various factors note, the Tribunal lowered the CMA’s original penalty by £200,000 to £1.25 million.

The CMA had accepted that Ping was pursuing an actual commercial objective of promoting in-store custom fitting, but discovered that it could have achieved this through less restrictive means.

Following today’s judgment, Ping must allow retailers to trade online, community . might demand these phones meet certain conditions prior to doing so.

Ann Pope, Senior Director for Antitrust Enforcement, said: “Today’s judgment sends a clear message to providers that try and stop customers shopping on the web regarding their products – they usually are disobeying the law. This matters given that it removes a barrier to customers researching for more affordable goods.

“The world wide web is an increasingly important sales channel and retailers’ ability to sell online, and reach as wide a buyer base as you can, must not be unduly restricted by manufacturers.”

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