CMA accepts commitments relating to platform services for the automotive sector
The CMA has today accepted final commitments offered by epyx Limited (Epyx) relating to service, maintenance and repair platform services.
Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) platforms are online platforms that help businesses with vehicle fleets (such as leasing companies and rental companies) to procure SMR services for these vehicles from other businesses (such as vehicle dealers, fast-fit outlets and garages). Epyx’s SMR platform is known as 1link Service Network.
The commitments remove, and in some other respects modify, potentially restrictive terms in Epyx’s contracts for the use of 1link Service Network, offering clear opportunities for competitors to enter the market, in particular by making it easier for Epyx’s current customers to switch to rivals if they choose to.
Following acceptance of the commitments, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has closed its investigation into whether Epyx had abused a dominant position in relation to the provision of SMR platforms in the UK.
Ann Pope, CMA Senior Director of Antitrust Enforcement, said:
We are pleased to have secured these commitments from Epyx. Now that Epyx’s customers can thoroughly test and evaluate alternative SMR platforms and sponsor new entry, there is increased freedom for them to switch if they choose to do so. This offers a real opportunity for competitors to enter and open up the market to choice and innovation.
SMR platforms are important to the efficient operation of businesses with vehicle fleets. These commitments remove and modify restrictions on SMR users’ ability to switch to potential new entrants, which should bring benefits to both the SMR users themselves and their customers. We are grateful for all the submissions received from interested parties in the public consultations. These helped us to fine-tune the commitments. This case demonstrates that the CMA is prepared to take action, even in small and complex markets.
The final commitments come into effect today and have a duration of five years.
Notes for editors
Full details of this case, including a link to the CMA’s commitments decision, can be found on the project webpage.
The commitments were offered by Epyx and its ultimate parent company, FleetCor Technologies, Inc.
There were two public consultations in this case, in March 2014 (by the Office of Fair Trading) and in June 2014 (by the CMA), to seek the views of interested parties on the proposed commitments. The second consultation was in respect of certain improvements that were made to the commitments as a result of the first consultation.
When the CMA has formally accepted commitments, it must close its investigation into the conduct that was the subject of the investigation. The CMA may reopen its investigation and take other action in certain limited circumstances (for example, where it has reasonable grounds for suspecting non-compliance with the commitments or believing that there has been a material change of circumstances since the commitments were accepted).
The decision by the CMA to accept commitments does not amount to or imply any finding as to the legality or otherwise of the conduct by the parties under investigation either prior to acceptance of the commitments or once the commitments are in place.
The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
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