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E-commerce sector inquiry: provisional concerns identified by the Commission

Recently the European Commission published a report summarising the provisional results of its e-commerce sector inquiry. The aim of the inquiry is to obtain an overview of current market trends, gather evidence on potential barriers to competition and understand the prevalence of potentially restrictive business practices.

The sector inquiry forms part of the Commission's Digital Single Market strategy which aims to remove barriers to online trade within the EU. The preliminary report focuses on consumer goods, including clothing and shoes, consumer electronics and electrical household appliances as well as digital content.

We have summarised the preliminary results of the inquiry in a recent TLT report which you can download below for further information.  In particular, we review the Commission's provisional findings on selective distribution arrangements. The number and variety of products for which selective distribution is being applied has increased considerably and the Commission has warned that the use of certain clauses in selective distribution agreements may require closer scrutiny going forwards. 

The Commission also identified concerns in the use of contractual restrictions to sell or advertise through certain online channels or to sell cross-border, and restrictions on the use of price comparison websites. 

The final report is expected in the first quarter of 2017. 

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at November 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.


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