EU Launches Investigation Into Marketplace Restrictions

An investigation has been launched by the European Commission into online marketplace restrictions put in place by brands and manufacturers. The restrictions are designed to stop marketplace retailers selling particular items, or forcing items to be sold above a particular price, usually in order for the products to retain prestige. Findings from the investigation are due to be published in early 2017, with a view to banning the secret practice. Meanwhile, eBay has recently conducted a survey into the effects of the marketplace bans, finding that 88% of UK consumers expect to be able to find their favourite brands on marketplaces, whilst 80% said price was their top concern when shopping online, leading to reduced ecommerce sales. eBay said that it welcomed the investigation, adding that it believed by increasing prices, the practice “restricted consumer choice and breached EU competition rules”.