The CMA has published an update paper in its market study of digital comparison tools. The one year market study was launched in September 2016 and this report marks the halfway stage.
The report sets out some interesting findings. In particular, the CMA highlights that both ‘wide’ and ‘narrow’ price parity clauses (i.e. clauses aimed at ensuring the DCT in question has the lowest price) can give rise to competition law concerns The CMA also highlights ‘negative matching’ when bidding for Google AdWords as a potentially problematic restriction.
Enforcement action is therefore a very real possibility on the back of the market study. Businesses should review their agreements now for competition law compliance, particularly if they contain these kinds of restrictions.
The market study may also be followed by 'cross-sector principles for DCTs’, aimed at addressing the inconsistent and patchy regulatory rules currently applicable to DCTs across different sectors. Measures to improve DCTs’ access to data are also possible.
Read our briefing here: http://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Competition_EU_and_Regulatory/Digital_Comparison_Tools_CMA_warns_of_competition_enforcement_action
DCTs play a major role in a variety of markets, and many consumers use them to shop around. They offer substantial benefits in reducing hassle for people and in increasing competition... At this stage, the evidence we have reviewed suggests that many people are likely to be realising significant benefits from DCTs in the sectors we have looked at, but that there is room for improvement.