On 24 August 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) adopted an infringement decision against the Golf club manufacturer Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) for banning UK retailers from selling its golf clubs online. More precisely, Ping was found to breach Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 TFEU by preventing two UK retailers from selling its golf clubs on their websites. As a result, the supplier was fined £1.45 million, it was required to bring the online sales ban to an end and not to impose the same or equivalent terms on other retailers. Furthermore, Ping may require retailers who sell online to meet certain conditions before doing so, provided that those conditions are compatible with competition law.
It should be noted that a penalty has been imposed on Ping, which was directly involved in the infringements. However, a fine has not been imposed on those retailers with whom it entered the infringing agreements because the CMA has applied rule 10(2) of its Competition Act 1998 Rules, according to which it may address its infringement decision to fewer than all the persons who were party to the relevant agreements. Therefore, although in the present case the CMA has decided to impose a fine only on the supplier, retailers are exposed to the risk of being fined for entering into anti-competitive agreements with suppliers.
The non-confidential decision will be published on the case page: CA98-Ping