Dutch watchdog fines Samsung €40M for TV price fixing

Mike Wheatley

Samsung Electronics has been slapped with a €40 million (£32.4 million) fine for TV price fixing by the Dutch consumer watchdog Autoriteit Consument en Markt.


ACM said Samsung was guilty of violating cartel prohibitions in the Netherlands by influencing the price of televisions sold online between 2013 and 2018.

The regulator said Samsung had illegally conspired to push up the prices of televisions in the country for years. It did so by constantly urging retailers to bump up their prices if it saw they were being sold below its preferred market rate, Reuters reported.

By doing so, Samsung undermined competition between seven of the Netherlands’ largest online consumer electronics stores, the ACM said. Samsung was said to have used “price recommendations” to persuade the retailers to price its products at the level it wanted to see, and further promised the retailers that their competitors would also follow its pricing guidelines.

“Samsung knew it could not compel retailers to increase their prices, which is why Samsung associates used the term ‘recommendations’,” said ACM Chairman Martijn Snoep.

The report said Samsung would monitor retailers’ prices via automated web crawlers and price comparison websites. Whenever it saw prices below its desired rate, it would contact the retailer via email or WhatsApp and urge it to bump up the cost.

“The price of new television models quickly drops after their introductions on the market,” the ACM said in a statement. “Samsung sought to counter this process by coordinating prices with retailers… protecting its own margins as well as the retailers’ margins at the expense of consumers.”

Samsung would even reach out to retailers if their competitors complained they were not following the company’s “recommendations”, the ACM said.

“Samsung’s advice was not individual and not without consequences,” the statement continued. “Its behavior distorted competition and raised prices for consumers.”

For its part, Samsung maintains that it never forced any of the Dutch retailers to use its price advice. It said stores have always been free to determine their own pricing strategy.

“We are disappointed with the ACM’s decision as we believe Samsung Electronics Benelux did not violate competition laws in the Dutch TV market as alleged,” Samsung said in a statement to FlatPanelsHD. “We will take necessary legal actions to appeal the ACM’s decision.”