Romania's biggest online retailer will pay EUR 6.7 mln fine for abuse of dominant position
Romania's Competition Council has slapped a RON 32.28 mln (EUR 6.7 mln) fine for abuse of dominant position on local company Dante International, which owns the country's biggest online retailer – eMAG.
The competition watchdog found that Dante International used its algorithms to disadvantage the vendors that used the eMAG Marketplace platform between January 2013 and June 2019. In this period, eMAG's own product range was more visible on the platform than the offers of the other vendors that also listed their products on the platform.
According to the Competition Council, the company acknowledged its deeds and thus benefitted from a milder sanction. The retailer also agreed to make its algorithms more transparent.
"To avoid repeating this situation, the competition authority requested the company to adopt a series of measures regarding the algorithms used by the platform. Dante will have to fully and correctly inform the partner traders on how the algorithms work for operations such as listing and positioning products on the platform, and limit manual interventions in the functioning of relevant algorithms," the Competition Council said in a press release.
Dante International also issued a press release saying that it "reached an understanding" with the Competition Council regarding the investigated deeds. The company said it collaborated with the competition authority throughout the investigation and provided all the information related to its marketplace platform's functioning. The retailer's representatives also explained that the eMAG marketplace rules were created "on the go" as the platform developed.
"The speed with which we developed the eMAG platform was not without errors, but we always learned from them, and they helped us adapt the model. The process of developing the platform has often involved quick solutions in the interest of customers, but some of them have been unpredictable for other parties involved in the platform. Although isolated, these situations have raised concerns with the competition authority," said eMAG CEO Iulian Stanciu.
"We have made every effort to identify a very predictable, transparent, and balanced way for all parties to benefit from an online trading platform and the customer to remain our priority. Even if we received a sanction, we take the good part of this experience: we learned how to offer a very good service at the same time to customers and partners in the Marketplace, through a system of rules and algorithms constantly improved, based on technology. Thus, customers benefit from innovative services that save them time and money, and partners benefit from major development opportunities in Romania and the surrounding countries," he added.
Dante International recorded a turnover of RON 4.56 bln (EUR 940 mln) and a net profit of RON 49.5 mln (EUR 10 mln) in 2019.
(Photo source: the company)