CMA alleges Fender illegally prevented price discounts for guitars
The market competition watchdog found that guitar company Fender Europe broke the law by illegally restricting online discounts for its guitars.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a Statement of Objections to Fender Musical Instruments Europe Limited on Tuesday.
In a provisional ruling, CMA said that between 2013 and 2018, Fender Europe had operated a policy designed to restrict competitive online pricing, requiring guitars to be sold at or above a minimum figure.
The practice, which is known as resale price maintenance, is illegal. By limiting the possibility of discounts, customers who shop around for a product are unlikely to find better deals.
According to the CMA, online sales of musical instruments have grown to around 40% of the total, making it more important that people have access to competitive prices.
Ann Pope, CMA Senior Director of Antitrust, said: “Shopping online can make it much easier to compare prices and hunt down bargains - this can be especially important for potentially big purchases like a guitar.”
“We take allegations of RPM very seriously because it removes one of the benefits of the internet of making it easier to quickly find a better price by shopping around. It stops online retailers from selling at the prices they want to, and this then leads to higher prices for customers.”