Swiss Competition Commission investigates online sales restrictions by Electrolux and V-Zug

On 16 September 2010, the Swiss Competition Commission (“COMCO”) announced (French, German, not available in English) that it is investigating Electrolux’s and V-Zug’s restrictions of online home appliance sales.

In particular, COMCO will look into Electrolux’s and V-Zug’s refusal to allow distributors to sell their products via the Internet.  The press release states that, pursuant to COMCO’s new guidelines (see also press release in German) on vertical agreements, in principle distributors should be able to use the Internet and to respond to online orders.

Although COMCO does not apply European Union competition law (because Switzerland is not an EU/EEA Member State), last June the Swiss authority issued new guidelines on distribution agreements in order to align its rules with the recently amended EU rules on vertical agreements, which the European Commission published last April and then entered into force on 1 June (See Newsletter 3/2010, p. 4).

The investigation may last up to 12 months, and the authority does not exclude the possibility that other producers of white goods may eventually be drawn into the investigation. [Gabriele Accardo]