Online sales and resale price maintenance are currently under debate in the European Commission’s review of the Block Exemption on vertical agreements.1 The NMa recently decided not to pursue an investigation into possible anti-competitive practices in regard of online sales.2 In its report, the NMa hinted at a more sympathetic approach to resale pmaintenance. This is an approach the European Commission appears to be leaning towards as well.
Media coverage led the NMa to believe that suppliers treated internet shops differently from regular shops. However, the NMa’s appeal to come forward did not lead to the expected flood of complaints.
61% of the responses received related to resale price maintenance.3 The NMa concluded, however, that there were insufficient indications to justify an investigation into resale price maintenance in regard of online sales. Interestingly, it also took this opportunity to acknowledge that resale price maintenance is noalways a bad thing. It could lead to efficiencies beneficial to consumers. This is also a view the European Commission seems to be softeninin its review of the Block Exemption on vertical agreements.4