VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT: ANTI-COMPETITIVE AGREEMENT TO SET DRESS TRY-ON FEE RESTRICTED COMPETITITON
Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Court) rejected a complaint by one of the occasion wear shops which was involved in a cartel that set a fixed dress try-on fee. The Court upheld the Council’s decision imposing a fine on the firm for the infringement of the Law on Competition.
On 31 October 2017 the Council found a number of occasion wear shops operating in Vilnius guilty of a cartel that set a fixed EUR 10 dress try-on fee for customers. Firms received fines ranging from EUR 1 to EUR 1,960.
The Court stated one of the forms of fair competition is the ability to compete freely, thus price-fixing agreements are considered restricting competition by nature, irrespective of whether they had been concluded secretly or reported about in public. In addition, the Court was not convinced by the firm’s argument that the dress try-on fee was introduced to “sort out the target audience”. The intentions of the firms concluding a price-fixing agreement does not change the evaluation that such agreement restricted competition.
The Court agreed that EUR 1,260 fine which the Council imposed on the firm was proportionate to the seriousness of the infringement.
The ruling of the Court is subject to appeal.
Other cartelists did not appeal the Council’s decision and paid the fines. Due to the fact that some of the firms admitted the infringement, the Council took it into consideration when imposing the fines and reduced them accordingly.