The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is currently consulting on proposals to settle two cases which consider abuse of a dominant position via the imposition of contract terms. The first consultation, announced on 10 March 2014 and concerning epyx Limited (Epyx), concerns the market for the supply of service, maintenance and repair platforms to businesses with vehicle fleets. The second consultation, announced on 18 March 2014 and concerning Certas Energy, concerns the market for the supply of petrol and diesel to filling stations in the Western Isles of Scotland (UK).
The OFT started its Epyx investigation following a complaint. The OFT is concerned that certain provisions in Epyx's contracts with its customers that lead to exclusivity and restrict or prevent the evaluation, development and marketing of alternative systems, may amount to an abuse of market power.
In relation to Certas, the OFT is concerned about Certas’s contracts with filling stations which require them to purchase road fuels exclusively from Certas for five years.
Both cases are interesting because they show that complaints to competition regulators in the EU can produce commercial benefits for the complainant (Epyx case) and also because they show again that contractual terms imposed by a dominant company can amount to an abuse of a dominant position in the EU (although in both cases the OFT has not formally found an infringement of competition law).