Sahibinden Bilgi Teknolojileri Pazarlama ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi (“Sahibinden”) has been under investigation by the Competition Authority since May 2017 for charging excessive prices to its commercial users on its website sahibinden.com. Sahibinden.com is the biggest two-sided online platform in Turkey for selling, renting and purchasing movable and immovable properties. The website’s products range from tutoring services to selling houses.
Users not using sahibinden.com for commercial purposes use it free of charge, commercial users who are willing to publish their advertisements on the platform are charged. Sahibinden determines limits for notices and advertisements, and users who exceed these limits are considered to be commercial users and are expected to pay a fee if they wish to publish their advertisements and notices on sahibinden.com.
Abusing Dominant Position in the Market
On October 2018, the Competition Authority decided that Sahibinden is in a dominant position in the market. That means that, even though there are some other online platforms that serve the same or similar purposes as sahibinden.com, Sahibinden’s market share gives it a dominant position in the market. Being in a dominant position by itself does not violate the Law on the Protection of Competition (“Law”). However, it is expected that the establishment, which is in a dominant position in a market, does not abuse its dominant position. In this present case, the Competition Authority has ruled sahibinden.com is abusing its dominant position, according to Article 6 of the Law by charging their commercial users excessive prices.
Administrative Monetary Fine in the amount of EUR 1.73 Million
As the Competition Authority has decided that Sahibinden is violating Article 6 of the Law, the Authority has served Sahibinden with an administrative fine in the amount of TRY 10,600,000 (approximately EUR 1,730,000), in accordance with the Article 16 of the Law.
The sanction implemented by the Competition Authority against Sahibinden is significant not only due the size of the monetary fine but also because it can be considered a pioneer decision in determining both the dominant position of online advertisement platforms as well as what constitutes excessive pricing. Considering that the number of two-sided online platforms are increasing daily, more two-sided online platforms may also face sanctions for abusing their dominant positions in the relevant markets in the future.
As dawn raids are being more and more common with authorities imposing huge fines and as proper legal guidance during such dawn raids is of upmost importance law firms are even developing mobile application (Dawn Raid Assistant) to guide the related companies through dawn raids. The mobile application offers real-time assistance during the dawn raid via smartphone.