UK: Appeals Court upholds CMA decision on online sales

he Court of Appeal has upheld the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) finding that a golf equipment supplier acted illegally by banning online sales of its products.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment dismisses an appeal made by Ping Europe against an infringement decision and £1.25 million (US$1.63 million) fine, after the CMA found it had broken competition law by stopping retailers from selling its clubs on their websites.

The move comes after the company’s initial appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) had been dismissed, in September 2018.

Tuesday, January 21’s ruling, upholding the CMA’s main finding and the CAT’s judgment, means Ping must now allow retailers to sell its products online.

It sends another important signal that blanket bans by manufacturers on the sale of their products online are against the law.

Ann Pope, Senior Director for Antitrust Enforcement, said, “Twice now Ping Europe has appealed and twice we’ve had our findings upheld that it broke the law by trying to stop online retailers from selling its golf clubs.”