The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has accepted commitments which settle a case concerning the abuse of a dominant position via the imposition of contract terms. The case, relating to the alleged activities of Epyx Limited, involves the market for the supply of service, maintenance and repair (SMR) platforms to businesses with vehicle fleets.
The CMA (at the time, the Office of Fair Trading) started its Epyx investigation following a complaint. The CMA was concerned that certain provisions in Epyx's contracts with its SMR platform 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. The commitments remove and, in some other respects, modify potentially restrictive terms in Epyx’s contracts. The CMA considers that this offers clear opportunities for competitors to enter the market, in particular by making it easier for Epyx’s current customers to switch to rivals if they choose.
The case is interesting because it shows that complaints to competition regulators in the EU can produce commercial benefits for the complainant and also because it shows again that contractual terms imposed by a dominant company can amount to an abuse of a dominant position in the EU (although formally the CMA has not found an infringement of competition law).