In 2007 the European Commission announced a study on tying and other potentially unfair commercial practices in the retail financial sector.
The study aimed to: present an inventory of tying and bundling practices in retail financial services (banking, payments, insurance and investment services); describe and analyse the current market and the use of such practices; and present an analysis of the potential impact of tying and other potentially unfair practices on different stakeholders.
The results of the study have now been published in a report entitled 'Tying and other potentially unfair commercial practices in the retail financial services sector'. The report's findings are that cross-selling practices (of which tying represents a third) and conditional sales practices are widespread in the EU. Mortgages, consumer loans and current accounts are the leading gateway products for cross-selling.
The Commission suggests that the results of the study indicate that tying and similar practices are anti-competitive and may be harmful for consumers and SMEs. Consumers find it costly to shop around for alternative products with consequences for consumer confidence in the financial services markets.
The Commission has asked stakeholders to respond to questions on the report's findings. Responses should be sent by 14 April 2010.