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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Brother printers - proceedings of UOKiK

< previous | next > 11.10.2018

Brother printers - proceedings of UOKiK
  • Were the prices of Brother printers in Poland set in an unlawful manner, making consumers pay more for these products?
  • UOKiK has instigated proceedings in connection with violation of competition law.
  • The financial penalties which may be imposed for such practices may amount to as much as 10% of the turnover of a given undertaking.

The proceedings are conducted against Brother Central & Eastern Europe (Brother). The company belongs to the Brother Industries Group and distributes products of this brand in Central and Eastern Europe.

Although Brother sells its products directly to wholesalers only, it maintains trade relations with retail shops, e.g. develops the recommended retail prices for Brother products.

“Price recommendation per se is not prohibited. However, sellers should be free to set the final prices. We have evidence that Brother would monitor retail prices to ensure they would not be lower than the recommended ones, as well as disciplined shops which wanted to sell printers at lower prices. Such practices may be illegal, lead to restriction of competitive activity and make consumers pay more for goods,” says President of UOKiK, Marek Niechciał.

The information received by the Office from an anonymous whistle-blower and from the materials obtained in the course of searching the undertaking indicates that Brother employees monitored the prices offered by retail sellers. If the prices were lower than the set ones, they would contact such shops and attempt to convince them to raise the price, e.g. by threatening them with loss or limitation of discounts and subsidies. At the same time, sellers would monitor each other’s prices and inform Brother of the ones who offered printers at a lower cost.

The penalty which may be imposed for violation of competition law may amount to as much as 10% of the turnover of a given undertaking. However, such severe sanctions can be avoided by taking advantage of the leniency programme. It is available to those who agree to co-operate with UOKiK and provide evidence of the illegal agreement or information thereon. We encourage undertakings interested in the leniency programme to contact UOKiK. By calling +48 22 55 60 555, you will be able to talk to UOKiK lawyers, who will answer all of your questions, also anonymous ones, related to leniency applications.

If you are aware of any illegal agreements, please report them to UOKiK. The Office runs
a programme of acquiring information from anonymous whistle-blowers. Please contact us by phone: +48 22 55 60 500 or email us at [SCODE]c3lnbmFsaXN0YUB1b2tpay5nb3YucGw=[ECODE].You can find all the information on the whistle-blower programme on the following website: konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl.

Additional information for the media:
UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 430
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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