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Casio fined £3.7m for forcing retailers to sell pianos at high prices

Posted: 19th September 2019   In: Corporate Commercial

Electronics company Casio has been fined £3.7 million for illegally preventing price discounts on its pianos.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a Statement of Objections against Casio Electronics in April 2019.

Casio had been telling retailers to sell its digital pianos at or above a certain price. It used software to monitor their actions and pressurised them to raise their prices if they fell below a certain level.

This is an illegal practice, known as resale price maintenance. It meant consumers were not able to find any good deals even if they shopped around, because all retailers were being told to sell at the same price.

Casio admitted that it broke competition law between 2013 and 2018 by implementing a policy designed to restrict retailer freedom to set prices online, requiring digital pianos and keyboards to be sold at or above a minimum price.  

The CMA imposed a £3.7 million fine. This had been discounted to reflect the fact that Casio admitted the illegal behaviour and agreed to co-operate with the CMA, so shortening the CMA’s investigation.

Ann Pope, CMA Senior Director of Antitrust, said: “Casio’s illegal action – telling retailers not to offer their musical instruments at discounted prices – made it harder for customers to shop around for a better price and meant they risked paying over the odds.

“At the CMA, we take this type of anti-competitive practice seriously and we will not hesitate to impose penalties where we establish the law has been broken. That’s why we have imposed our largest ever fine for this type of offence on Casio at £3.7 million.”

Please contact Jon Alvarez if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of competition law.

Posted by: Jon Alvarez
Corporate Commercial
Luton Office