At least one of the industry’s mobility equipment suppliers was warned last year for potentially anti-competitive practices.
That’s according to a newly-released record of letters sent by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2018 warning firms about competition law issues.
The CMA would not provide details of the specific companies that were issued with warnings but the register includes one firm involved in the wholesale of mobility equipment.
The unnamed supplier was accused of trying to ensure its retail partners adhere to its recommended retail prices or risk being prevented from selling its products.
The CMA uses warning and advisory letters to follow up businesses if it has concerns about possible competition law breaking.
Last year the CMA issued 35 letters across various industries which included the mobility sector, health services and healthcare retail.
Most letters, including that sent to the mobility supplier, concern resale price maintenance (RPM), where a supplier and a retailer agree that the retailer will not resell the supplier’s products below a specified price.
The CMA advises that RPM agreements are usually unlawful because they prevent businesses from offering lower prices and setting prices independently to attract more customers.
RPM can also be indirect and companies may still be involved in an unlawful RPM agreement where a supplier imposes restrictions on how far customers can discount its product; prevents or limits a customers’ ability to advertise lower prices online; or has linked a resale price for the product to what other retailers are selling it for.
Retailers are advised by the CMA not to agree fixed or minimum retail prices with suppliers and to no pressure suppliers and other retailers to adhere to recommended resale prices.