Philips, Asus, Pioneer and D&M hit with e-commerce fines

EU fines Philips £25.5m for driving up prices of its products online

EU fines Philips £25.5m for driving up prices of its products online

When retailers failed to kowtow, the EC says that the companies took "sanctions" against them such as withdrawing supply, in violation of European Union antitrust law. Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer reportedly leveraeged online resellers to keep prices of their products high, and have been handed a collective $130 million in fines. The companies are guilty of attempting to control the pricing of online retailers, preventing them from selling the companies products under the recommended prices set, and threatening to limit retailers' access to stock. According to the investigation, Asus would monitor the resale price for certain PC hardware products at retail and would request that retailers increase their prices if they fell below a certain threshold. Asus faces the biggest fine, but four other companies faced paying out significant sums for being caught imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on their online retailers.

The fines total over €111 million ($130 million) but have been reduced after the companies cooperated with European Union authorities.

The four companies used automated software that monitored prices at their partner retailers to make sure they followed rules.

EU fines Philips £25.5m for driving up prices of its products online

The European Commission just announced it's fining four consumer electronics manufacturers a total of €111 million for fixing online resale prices. "This is illegal under EU antitrust rules", EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a release. In effect, this system led to pricier appliances and devices than consumers would otherwise encounter. The conduct of Asus related to two Member States (Germany and France) and took place between 2011 and 2014.

The latest fines for Asian and European companies could strengthen the hand of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker when he meets U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Wednesday.

As a penalty, ASUS was fined a whopping 63.5 million euros (~US$74 million), Pioneer 10.2 million euros (~US11.9 million), Philips 29.8 million euros (~US34 million) and Denon & Marantz 7.7 million euros (~US$8.9 million). Meanwhile, Phillips was fined for actions in France alone; Denon & Marantz in Germany and the Netherlands; and Pioneer, with the most far-spanning antitrust behaviour, fined for antitrust behaviour in 12 countries.

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