In July 2020 the Competition & Markets Authority fined supplier of electronic musical equipment, Roland, £4million for enforcing Resale Price Maintenance on its electronic drum kits.
The CMA found that between 7 January 2011 and 17 April 2018, Roland set minimum prices for its electronic drum kits and related products, instructing sellers to not sell below these prices. According to UK law, this goes against the nature of healthy commercial competition, restricting customers from being able to shop around and being forced to pay a set fee.
Roland had used price monitoring software to ensure that retailers were complying with the minimum set price. In addition to this, to prevent retailers from selling below the minimum price, the CMA states that “Roland threatened – and sometimes applied – sanctions against those who advertised and sold at lower prices. For example, Roland removed key discounts off the trade price for certain resellers”. The report continues: “Many resellers understood that Roland’s pricing policy meant that they could not sell below the minimum price and that this may breach competition law. For example, in response to a request from Roland to price at the minimum price, a reseller replied ‘#notallowedtomapbutkindado lol x’.”
The CMA also found evidence that senior management knew they were acting illegally and took steps to cover this up.
Roland were fined £4million by the CMA and the fine was increased due to the evidence that senior management knew what they were doing and the illegal behaviour had been intended.
Senior management of Roland fully cooperated with the CMA’s investigation and their fine was reduced to reflect this.
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