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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Decision of the President of UOKiK - obligation of Benefit Systems

< previous | next > 08.12.2021

Decision of the President of UOKiK - obligation of Benefit Systems
  • President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny obliged Benefit Systems, the operator of Multisport cards, to introduce measures to increase the level of competition in the fitness industry.
  • The Company is expected to take steps to foster competition in the sports and recreation package market.
  • In addition, Benefit Systems will introduce measures to encourage non-discriminatory treatment of clubs that want to offer their services in the Multisport programme.

The Benefit Systems company, owner of i.a. Multisport cards, is the largest operator of sport and recreation packages in Poland. They are most often offered to employees by employers as an incentive benefit. At the same time, Benefit Systems is the owner of over a hundred fitness clubs, e.g. the Zdrofit chain.

The decision issued relates to one of the threads of the investigation into anti-competitive agreements in the fitness market. The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection suspected, among other things, that the company may have agreed with some fitness chains not to cooperate with its competitors in the sports and recreation package market, in particular with OK System (now Medicover Sport). Moreover, it is possible that Benefit Systems did not engage in cooperation with clubs other than those with which it could conclude collusive arrangements, which may have unduly favoured the position of those clubs on the market.

In the course of the proceedings, Benefit Systems accepted an obligation to take pro-competitive measures in relation to both the market for sports and recreation packages and the market for fitness clubs. In his decision, the President of UOKiK imposed an obligation to implement them. In doing so, he took into account that as a result of ownership changes in the fitness market and the intervention conducted, the questionable practices are no longer in place. The President of the Office also found that the company's proposed actions would benefit market competition among fitness clubs and between operators of sports and recreation packages.

"According to the obligation, Benefit Systems will admit at least one operator of sports and recreation packages to some large fitness clubs in attractive locations for the time period indicated in the decision. Moreover, the company will have to take measures to foster equal treatment of clubs seeking to establish cooperation within the Multisport programme. This will strengthen competition in the fitness market," says UOKiK President Tomasz Chróstny.

Benefit Systems will be required to report on the performance of its obligations to the President of the Office, who will be able, among other things, to verify that they are being fulfilled. The penalty for failure to comply with a binding decision issued by the President of UOKiK may amount up to EUR 10 thousand for each day of delay.

The issue of a binding decision ends the proceedings conducted by the President of UOKiK with regard to agreements to which Benefit Systems may have been a party. The issue of a decision allows the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to monitor the performance of the agreed obligations by the entrepreneur in the simplified procedure while leaving open the possibility of investigating the actions of entrepreneurs operating in the fitness sector to the extent unrelated to the fulfilment of obligations.

The obligations are set out in full in the operative part of the decision (in Polish) attached to this press release.

Other decisions in the fitness market

The decision obliging Benefit Systems to take pro-competitive measures is yet another decision related to the investigation by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection of possible practices limiting competition in the fitness market. In December 2020, The President of UOKiK issued a decision stating that the largest fitness chains, including Benefit Systems, had divided the market among themselves. The fines imposed on entrepreneurs amounted to over PLN 32 million. The managers directly responsible for the collusion were also fined with a total amount of PLN 800 thousand.

In 2021, The President of UOKiK issued two decisions imposing fines in the amount of PLN 500 thousand on Platinium Wellness and in the amount of PLN 150,000 on the President of the Management Board of this company. The fines were imposed for obstructing a search that the President of UOKiK was conducting at the company.

The President of the Office also investigated the state of competition in the fitness market in connection with the Benefit Systems-Calypso merger plans. In view of the analyses conducted, the Office issued its objections to the concentration.  Benefit Systems then abandoned the transaction and withdrew its application from the Office.

We would like to remind you that the Office also runs a programme of acquiring information from anonymous whistleblowers. Visit https://konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl/sygnalista/ and fill out a simple form. The European system we use guarantees full anonymity, also towards the Office.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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