A&L Goodbody's EU, Competition & Procurement Group has three decades of experience in advising clients on getting the pricing decision right.
The Group regularly advises clients on pricing practices under Irish and EU competition law including:
- Resale Price Maintenance
- Predatory pricing
- Excessive pricing
- Discounts and rebates
- Price-fixing and 'cartels'
- Hub and spoke pricing practices
- Price signalling; and
- Information sharing between competitors concerning prices.
In broad terms, Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) occurs where a manufacturer sets the price at which its distributors can sell. RPM can occur directly (e.g. as a term in a contract) or indirectly (e.g. as a result of the agreed practice of companies). RPM is regarded as a hard-core competition breach under both EU and Irish competition law and has the potential to attract significant penalties. Regulators are increasingly focusing their enforcement powers on companies engaging in RPM. We know that pricing mechanisms can be complex and that different industries raise different issues. We regularly advise clients on designing and implementing pricing structures in distribution agreements and agency agreements which work for their particular business and are compliant with competition law.
We regularly advise clients on certain pricing practices which can raise issues when undertaken by companies in a 'dominant position' on the market. Pricing abuses include both excessive pricing and low-cost or 'predatory' pricing (e.g., selling at an unreasonably low price such as below cost with the intention of driving out a competitor and recovering the loss when the competitor has left the market). We also regularly advise clients on submitting complaints to regulators concerning competitor's pricing practices. You can read more about our Complaints experience here.
Most businesses are aware that agreeing prices with competitors is illegal under competition law. Our priority is to ensure that our clients stay on the right side of the law. You can read more about our Compliance practice here.