FAS filed a case against Apple over iPhone price in Russia

The Federal Antimonopoly service (FAS) of Russia initiated a case against a group of persons consisting of Apple Inc., and also, OOO “eppl Rus”, Apple Holding B. V., Apple Sales Ireland Apple Operations International, reported the press service of the Ministry.

The case associated with the price of the iPhone from Russian Resellers, the message. As explained by the FAS, previously with the appeal to the Antimonopoly office received a complaint from a citizen that stated that sixteen Resellers set the same prices on Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, appeared on the Russian market in October of last year. Among these Resellers in circulation was called MTS, “Beeline”, Re: Store, “Svyaznoy”, “MegaFon”, “Euroset”, “Citylink”, “M. Video”, “Eldorado”, OZON, Ulmart, Media Markt, Fridge.<url>”, DNS, ION (Know-How) and “Technosila”.

The results of the investigation showed that from the beginning of official sales iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in Russia the majority of Resellers have installed on these smartphones the same prices and kept them for some time, the report says. In addition, the Agency found a coincidence of prices of other models of Apple, said the FAS.

“FAS Russia believes that such overlap could result from the coordination of pricing Russian Resellers, the company Apple, which led to the establishment of prices on the Russian market and the adoption of the so-called recommended prices as necessary”, — is told in message FAS.

The case was initiated under part 5 of article 11 of the Law on protection of competition, which prohibits physical persons, commercial and non-commercial organisations to coordinate economic activities of economic entities if such coordination leads to the establishment or maintenance of prices.

“Euroset” in setting prices on the iPhone anyone not coordinated, said the President of the company Alexander Malis. “We looked at the prices on the websites of the competitors put his, and then within a few weeks competitive environment has changed, we also change prices depending on supply and demand”, — he said. According to Malis, Apple did not specify “Euroset”, which put the price of the iPhone. “Not really sure how it’s even possible to coordinate 16 retailers,” said he. The company has received queries from the FAS, to which she responded and explained the pricing processes in a network, said Malis.

“The messenger” setting prices in retail, based on a lot of factors, primarily the market situation”, said the representative of the company Sergey Tikhonov. The retailer, he said, to determine in which interval can be set the final price for the retail product, given the purchase price and its expenses on logistics, promotion, employees, etc. the Company
“periodically receives requests from the FAS” on the formation of retail prices of the gadgets and provides relevant information, said Tikhonov.

Legal service “Olmert” told RIA Novosti that the agreements for supply of Apple devices do not contain requirements or conditions to the pricing process. “The prices of all the products contained in the online showcase ulmart.ru shall be based on current market conditions, the overall dynamics of the current sales and marketing activities of the company,” said the company.

Representatives of MTS, “VimpelCom”, “MegaFon” and re: Store declined to comment.

FAS suspected price fixing in the sale of iPhone 6S in Russia appeared in the beginning of 2016. Then the representatives of the Antimonopoly service said that the service checks 16 networks, including “Euroset”, “Svyaznoy”, “Eldorado”, “Technosila”. The Agency requested information on the purchase prices from the suppliers, the cost of transportation to the regions in the formation of prices for the product, as well as the additional conditions for the resale of smartphones, including the extent of their implementation. At the same time it was noted that the representatives of the FAS believe that the retailers in setting prices operated non-automatic.

As previously reported by the Deputy head of Department FAS on struggle against cartels Andrey Filimonov, if price collusion is proven, sellers can be fined in the amount of 1-15% of the total volume of sales of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in 2015.

FAS is not the first time check the work of retailers in connection with price tags on Apple products. For example, in 2011, the Agency studied the activity of the retail network operators MTS and “VimpelCom” (brand “Beeline”): whereas, representatives of the FAS suspected the companies of price collusion in the sale of the iPhone 4. After the inspection, both networks were fined 16 million and 18 million rubles, respectively.