Online Sales Bans By Product Manufacturers

If a manufacturer of a product requires that its distributors do not make online sales, then that must harm competition and so such “online sales bans” should be strongly presumed to be anti-competitive. Do you agree? Online Sales Bans By Product Manufacturers on Distributors – online sales bans anticompetitive.

Should Online Sales Bans Imposed By Product Manufacturers On Distributors Be Strongly Presumed to Be Anti-Competitive?


Firms may engage in vertical agreements with other firms or parties as a way of achieving goals they may not otherwise realise acting on their own. When they make such agreements with other companies or parties, firms may impose vertical restrictions. Such restrictions may come in the form of selecting distributors, limiting online sales among other conditions. An Online sales ban come into effect when a company requires its distributors not to make online sales. With anti-competitive practices generally prohibited in the European Union and indeed in many other jurisdictions, the question of the legality of online sales bans is one that lingers in the
minds of many business owners and distributors. If, for example, a manufacturer of a product requires that its distributors do not make online sales, then that must harm competition. Should such “online sales bans” be strongly presumed to be anticompetitive? This paper attempts to answer this question and argues that absolute online sales bans by manufacturing companies are strongly presumed to be anticompetitive.

online sales bans by product manufacturers

Anti-competition Laws and Vertical Restraints

Many countries have in place laws aimed at protecting consumers and businesses from unfair practices and practices that inhibit or thwart competition. In the UK in particular, Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 expressly prohibits any agreement or concerted practice that restricts, prevents, or distorts competition unless such action enjoys exemption from the prohibition. In the same spirit, Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) forbids concerted practices, agreements and decisions by undertakings or group of undertakings acting together that aim to restrict, prevent, or distort competition within the common market or that may affect trade between European Union (EU) member countries.  Read more

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