Competition




Credit Card Companies Sued for Price Fixing
Americas

Bloomberg reports that Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have been sued by a trade group representing operators of automated teller machines (ATM), who claim that the two companies fix prices and suppress competition among ATM networks. The plaintiffs are reportedly alleging “antitrust violations for restricting independent ATM operators from charging varying prices for customers using alternative networks such as STAR, Shazam Inc. or TransFund”.  Due to a uniform agreement, “operators can’t charge less for transactions over a network that competes with Visa and MasterCard, according to the complaint”, reports Bloomberg. 
Bloomberg: Visa, Mastercard Accused of Price Fixing by ATM Operators  (13 October 2011)
(Source: Bloomberg)


Samsung and LG Electronics Companies Investigated for Price Fixing
Asia Pacific

The Korea Herald reports that electronics companies Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are under investigations by the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for fixing the prices of televisions and laptop computers. Reportedly, both companies were charged by the KFTC in October 2010 for fixing the prices of air-conditioning units and televisions.
The Korea Herald: Samsung, LG Electronics under investigation for price-fixing (13 October 2011)
(Source: The Korea Herald)


ACCC to Appeal Dismissal of Deceptive Conduct Claims Against Google
Asia Pacific

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that it will appeal the Federal Court’s finding that Google did not engage in misleading and deceptive conduct by displaying advertisements which listed “a business name, product name or web address of a business not sponsored, affiliated or associated with the advertiser” which would divert unsuspecting users to the advertiser’s website. Justice Nicholas found that Google had not engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct because it had not made the misleading representations. The ACCC believes that a Full Court hearing may find that Google was directly responsible for publishing the misleading material.
ACCC’s media release (13 October 2011)
(Source: ACCC)


ACCC Warns Market Leaders
Asia Pacific

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has made available Some perspectives on competition and regulation (10 October 2011), a speech delivered by ACCC chairperson Rod Sims to the Melbourne Press Club. In his speech, Mr Sims emphasised the ACCC’s commitment to maintaining a “[s]ound competition policy” and preventing the misuse of market power, particularly in relation to the supermarket, telecommunications and airport sectors.
ACCC’s media release #1 (10 October 2011)

The ACCC has also made available the following speeches, delivered to the Franchise Council of Australia’s National Convention:

ACCC’s media release #2 (10 October 2011)
(Source: ACCC)


ACCC Concerned Over Airport’s Monopoly
Asia Pacific

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has stated that more effective regulation of airports is needed in order to prevent them abusing their monopoly power over services to airlines and passengers by raising prices while lowering quality of the service. Suggested changes include enforceable “minimum terms and conditions for access to airport services” and the ACCC playing a greater role in arbitrating negotiations between airports and airport service operators.
Further information from the ACCC
ACCC’s media release (10 October 2011)  
(Source: ACCC)