In our September bulletin we reported that Roma Medical Aids Limited, a mobility scooter manufacturer, had breached Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 by entering into an anticompetitive agreement with several of its retailers. The terms of the resale agreement meant that the retailers were prevented from selling or displaying the prices of the mobility scooters online.
Further to this decision and the 2011 Market Study by the OFT into what it suspected as online restrictions in the mobility aids sector, on September 24 this year, the OFT announced that it had issued a Statement of Objections to another manufacturer of mobility scooters and several retailers who stocked its models. The Statement of Objections alleges that Pride Mobility Products Limited prevented the retailers from displaying online prices below the recommended retail price for certain models of mobility scooter.
It is alleged this activity occurred between 2010 and 2012. The parties have the opportunity to make oral and written submissions to the OFT before a decision and possible penalty is issued. This second enforcement action following the 2011 Market Study is again important as it shows the OFT’s seriousness in drawing enforcement actions from market studies and its desire to combat anti-competitive agreements, particularly vertical agreements between suppliers of a product and sellers.