Bid on This Champion Change for the Auction House Industry

Share Article

On 22 November 2016, the CMA launched an investigation into suspected breaches of Chapters I and II of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) and Articles 101 and 102 TFEU in respect of the supply of live online auction platform services in the UK.

Bid on This Logo

Bid on This - Live online bidding platform

“We are delighted at the result of the CMA’s investigation into ATG, and to have championed this change. The cessation of anti-competitive behaviours will ensure a fair marketplace for all Auction Houses..."

In November 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into ATG Media (Auction Technology Group) to look into alleged anti-competitive behaviours in the Auction House Industry (Case reference 50408). ATG Media operate the bidding websites i-bidder, the Saleroom and Bidspotter. The named complainant on this case was http://www.bidonthis.co.uk who felt they, along with UK Auction Houses who were clients of ATG, had been targeted and impacted by this behaviour. Since November 2016 all complainants and relevant auction houses have been invited to comment on their experience, alongside an inspection of ATG Media’s premises.

The CMA results published on 30th May state they have a preliminary view that evidence obtained showed ATG Media have: -

  • requiring exclusivity from its auction house customers (that is, stopping them from also using competing platforms)
  • preventing its auction house customers from allowing bidders to use rival platforms at lower cost (a form of ‘most favoured nation’ or ‘parity’ provision)
  • preventing auction houses from advertising and promoting the services of competitors to ATG Media

ATG have also chosen to offer commitments to cease all the above activities, which would ensure there is not an ongoing investigation into their activities. They will be monitored for the foreseeable future, and any similar alleged anti-competitive behaviour would be subject to legal review. The CMA are looking for comment on these proposals until June 19th when all responses will be reviewed.

Bid on This have been key in bringing this case to the CMA and providing evidence. Their CEO Helen Parker has commented that

“We are delighted at the result of the CMA’s investigation into ATG, and to have championed this change. The cessation of anti-competitive behaviours will ensure a fair marketplace for all Auction Houses, allowing this exciting and innovative industry to continue to grow. The changes give freedom for every business involved to make commercial choices that improve their chances of success, and the best prices for all. This proposal put forward by ATG is now up for comment to all auction houses, and their buyers, in a process which is ensured to be safe and private. We would encourage any worried party, whether you have been impacted by these activates to date, or not, to thoroughly read the document and comment on any concerns up till the June 19th deadline. This is a great victory, and use case, for any UK independent, hard-working company, that wants to be protected from unethical conduct. We love the Auction House business and want to ensure it continues to grow as we do.”

Invitation to comment
Any person wishing to comment on the commitments should submit written representations to the postal or email addresses given below by Monday 19 June 2017. Please quote the case reference 50408 in all correspondence related to this matter.

Cleo Alliston/Nathalie Lobel-Lastmann
Competition and Markets Authority
Victoria House
Southampton Row
WC1B 4AD
cleo.alliston(at)cma.gsi.gov.uk

nathalie.lobel-Lastmann(at)cma.gsi.gov.uk

The full published document of intent from the CMA can be found under their case page at http://www.ATG-case.com.

Sources:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consultation-on-solving-online-auction-competition-concerns
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/592d366e40f0b63e080000f0/auction-services-notice-of-intention-to-accept-commitments.pdf
https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/auction-services-anti-competitive-practices

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Samah Holden
Bid on This
+44 1372860889
Email >

Samah Holden
@BidonThisUK
since: 05/2014
Follow >
Follow us on
Visit website