If you purchased a Samsung TV in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2018, you might have paid extra because of Samsung’s influence on local retailers. The ACM (Authority for Consumers & Markets) recently led an investigation on Samsung and determined that the company used unfair practices to pressure shopkeepers to raise prices. The ACM gave Samsung Electronics a fine of more than €39 million following the investigation. But according to De Telegraaf, the Korean tech giant plans to respond with legal actions to challenge ACM’s decision.
The ACM started the investigation and discovered that Samsung was using prohibited commercial practices after some shopkeepers complained. It turns out that Samsung Electronics was getting in touch with sellers in the Netherlands via email and WhatsApp to control prices regularly. If a retailer was selling a Samsung TV for lower than the company wanted, Samsung messaged the seller and explained that the price had to be increased.
Samsung claims to have followed all the rules, will fight ACM’s decision
The ACM investigated WhatsApp and email traffic between Samsung and shopkeepers and determined that “Samsung’s behavior distorted competition at the retail level and led to higher prices for consumers.” Samsung would constantly monitor its online TV range and pressure e-tailers to adjust their prices to match the Korean tech giant’s expectations, and therefore, Samsung was able to protect its margins and those of its partner retailers at the cost of the consumer.
But a few shopkeepers that were contacted by Samsung came forward. And with their help, the ACM discovered that Samsung coordinated sales prices in the Netherlands in an unfair manner towards the consumer.
On the other hand, a Samsung spokesperson said that the company has complied with competition rules and is disappointed with the ACM’s decision. Samsung will reportedly take legal steps to challenge the €39 million fine.
Beyond issuing this fine, the ACM lacks the authority to enforce Samsung to compensate customers who bought a TV between 2013 and 2018 and might feel like they got wronged. Time will tell how the story unfolds, but perhaps a law firm will prepare a class action lawsuit to represent the consumers.