Mobility aids sector: investigation into anti-competitive agreements

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigated certain suspected online restrictions in the mobility aids sector under Chapter I of the CA98.

Case reference: CE/9578-12

Case timetable

Date Milestone
30 October 2014 Publication of non-confidential version of infringement decision issued to Pride and certain of its retailers
27 March 2014 Infringement decision issued to Pride and certain of its retailers and investigation brought to a close
31 October 2013 Publication of non-confidential version of infringement decision issued to Roma and certain of its retailers
24 September 2013 Statement of objections issued to Pride and certain of its retailers
5 August 2013 Infringement decision issued to Roma and certain of its retailers announced
21 March 2013 Statement of objections issued to Roma and certain of its retailers
August 2012 to March 2014 OFT analysis and review of parties’ responses to information requests. Issue of further information requests (if necessary) - Internal governance processes to decide investigation outcome
April to July 2012 Initial investigation: information gathering, including issuance of formal or informal information requests and parties’ responses
April 2012 Investigation opened

Notes:

  • Further detail of the OFT’s Procedures in Competition Act cases is available in the Procedural Guidance

Summary of work

The OFT carried out a market study into the mobility aids sector in 2011 which identified several areas of concern. In April 2012, the OFT opened an investigation into certain suspected online restrictions in the mobility aids sector under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Following the market study, the OFT undertook a range of activity to address some key problems they found in the mobility aids sector.

Pride Mobility Products Limited

On 27 March 2014, the OFT issued an infringement decision finding that Pride Mobility Products Limited (Pride) and certain of its retailers infringed the Chapter I prohibition of the CA98 - see press release OFT issues decision in mobility scooters sector (27 March 2014).

The decision relates to agreements and/or concerted practices which had the object of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in the supply of mobility scooters in the UK by:

  • prohibiting online advertising by certain retailers of below-RRP prices in various periods between February 2010 and February 2012 in respect of certain Pride-branded mobility scooters.

The decision relates to Pride and the following UK-wide online retailers: Careco (UK) Limited (formerly Discount Mobility Direct Limited), Discount Mobility Plus Limited/Rutland Mobility Limited, Mobility 4 U Limited, MT Mobility Limited/Hooplah Limited, Robert Gregg Limited (trading as Mobility Warehouse), Hartmond Limited, Milton Keynes Mobility Limited and Better Mobility Limited. Certain of those retailers also operate physical retail shops.

The decision relates to the following models of Pride-branded mobility scooters: Colt Deluxe, Colt Executive, Colt Plus, Colt Twin, Colt XL8, Colt 9 and the Elite Traveller LX.

Roma Medical Aids Limited

On 5 August 2013, the OFT issued an infringement decision finding that Roma Medical Aids Limited and certain of its retailers infringed the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 - see press release OFT issues decision in mobility scooters case (5 August 2013).

The decision relates to agreements and/or concerted practices which had the object of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in the supply of mobility scooters in the UK by:

  • prohibiting online sales by certain retailers in various periods between July 2011 and April 2012 in respect of Roma-branded mobility scooters, and

  • prohibiting online advertising by certain retailers of any prices in various periods between July 2011 and April 2012 in respect of Roma-branded mobility scooters.

The decision relates to Roma and the following UK-wide online retailers: Careco (UK) Limited (formerly Discount Mobility Direct Limited), Discount Mobility Plus Limited/Rutland Mobility Limited, Discount Mobility Shop Limited/Mobility Abroad Limited, GBL Wheelchair Services Limited, Mobility Independence Limited, MT Mobility Limited/Hooplah Limited and Protec Mobility Trading Limited. Certain of those retailers also operate physical retail shops.

The decision related to the following models of Roma-branded mobility scooters: Alcora, Corrella, Lyon, Granada, Sorrento and Vegas.

Contacts

Team leader

Dan Rawling, dan.rawling@cma.gsi.gov.uk

Project director

Grahame Horgan, grahame.horgan@cma.gsi.gov.uk

Senior responsible officer

Louis Christofides, louis.christofides@cma.gsi.gov.uk

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