In a landmark ruling, the Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld an earlier decision that Ping Europe Ltd broke the law by banning the online sale of its golf clubs.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that Ping (a manufacturer of golf clubs) had breached competition law by preventing UK retailers from selling its golf clubs on their websites.
Ping argued that it was pursuing a genuine commercial aim of promoting in-store custom fitting but the Tribunal found that it could have achieved this through less restrictive means.
The Tribunal said that: “The potential impact of the ban on consumers and retailers is real and material. It significantly restricts consumers from accessing Ping golf club retailers outside their local area and from comparing prices and it significantly reduces the ability of, and incentives for, retailers to compete for business using the internet.”
The Tribunal lowered the CMA’s original fine by £200,000 to £1.25 million.
As are result Ping must allow retailers to sell their goods online, though it may require them to meet certain conditions before doing so.
Here’s the press release from the CMA.