As we have already reported in our Antitrust Law Newsletter of 19 October 2017 , the BKartA can carry out sector investigations in cases of suspected consumer protection violations . The BKartA is now serious and starts its first consumer protection sector investigation. In sight of the BKartA: comparison portals on the Internet.

Goals of the BKartA: Reliability, objectivity and transparency of the Internet portals

The economic importance of comparison portals is considerable . Thus, bookings for high sums and far-reaching contracts are influenced by the details of the portals. The BKartA clearly has doubts that consumer protection rights are always respected. BKartA President Andreas Mundt commented: "We must ensure that consumers can [...] rely on the reliability, objectivity and transparency of the portals."

The agency therefore wants to interview numerous operators on topics such as rankings, financing, interconnections, assessments, availability or relevant market coverage in order to clarify possible breaches of consumer protection regulations. In a first step, the BKartA is currently carrying out the selection of the comparative portals to be surveyed and preparing questionnaires , which should be sent out by the end of the year. At the end of the sector inquiry, the results will be summarized and published in a report.

Numerous economic sectors affected

The study of the BKartA should concentrate on comparison portals from the following areas:

  • travel
  • Insurance
  • Financial Services
  • Telecommunications and
  • Energy.

And the next sector inquiry is already underway : The BKartA intends to decide this year on the initiation of a further investigation into possible problems from everyday digital consumer life.