A well-deserved punishment.
UOKiK imposed a penalty of usd 1.4 million on Brother for imposing minimum printer prices on online stores. The unlawful and completely unethical practice from the consumer point of view lasted in 2010-2017. In this way, the producer not only artificially inflated prices, but also limited the freedom of stores in creating them. Brother required that individual printer models not be sold cheaper than the price specified by the company. In the event of a breach of an unofficial agreement, Brother would impose sanctions in the form of restrictions on supplies or deterioration of commercial conditions.
"Brother's actions limited the effectiveness of price competition between stores and caused the prices of printers to be at a very similar level at various sellers", says the President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny. As a result, consumers overpaid for the equipment they buy. Similar practices in the industry are not new – indeed, they are often regarded as completely normal when it comes to the relationship between the manufacturer and the seller.
It is worth noting that the penalty at the level of usd 1.4 million was lower than assumed by as much as 40%. This is the result of a willingness to voluntarily submit to punishment and use the leniency program. The President of UOKiK states that only companies that disclose the deal and will cooperate in the course of the initiated proceedings can count on such a privilege.
The decision is still not final and Brother may appeal against it.