E-commerce restrictions – Shoppers cannot be denied the right to buy goods online as CMA fines Ping £1.45m for unjustified online sales ban.

24 Aug 2017

In a landmark move, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that Ping, one of Britain’s biggest golf club manufacturers, has breached UK and EU competition law by preventing two UK retailers from selling its golf clubs online.

As well as the fine of £1.45m, Ping is required to bring the online sales ban to an end, and must not impose the same or equivalent terms on other retailers. Ping sought to justify its restriction on the basis that it was necessary to promote a genuine commercial aim of promoting in-store custom fitting. However the CMA found that Ping’s online sales ban was not objectively justified or proportionate as its aims could be achieved by less restrictive measures. The ban therefore infringed the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Ping may require retailers to meet certain conditions for online sales but these conditions must be proportionate and compatible with competition law.

Anneli Howard and James Bourke acted for a complainant.

See Government press release.