AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Electronics maker Samsung has been fined 40 million euros ($46.9 million) for price fixing in the Netherlands, Dutch competition watchdog ACM said on Wednesday.
The market regulator said Samsung had pushed up the prices of its televisions in the Netherlands for years, by constantly urging retailers to raise their prices if they were selling them below Samsung’s preferred market rate.
This practice undermined competition between seven of the largest online electronics stores in the Netherlands, the ACM said, as Samsung made it clear to all retailers involved that their competitors would also follow its pricing policy.
Samsung also reached out to retailers if their competitors complained about TVs being sold too cheap, documents obtained by the regulator showed.
“Samsung’s advice was not individual and not without consequences,” the watchdog said. “Its behaviour distorted competition and raised prices for consumers.”
Samsung said it would appeal the fine, as it maintained it had never forced retailers to use its price advice and that stores had always been free to determine their own strategy.
But the regulator said that Samsung should have known that its efforts to influence prices went far beyond normal guidance and was in fact a way to structurally determine the market prices of its televisions.
($1 = 0.8537 euros)
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by Jason Neely)