The bicycle supplier was threatened by one of its largest customers that it would stop purchasing bicycles from the supplier if the latter did not terminate its distribution contract with one of its dealers. This threat was made because of displeasure with the low resale prices used by this dealer for the bicycles of the supplier. The supplier itself was not concerned about these low prices. Nevertheless it chose to terminate the contract with the dealer in fear of losing its largest customer.
The Court of Appeal held that the termination should be regarded as a direct result of a concerted practice, with restriction of competition as its object. As such, the termination was qualified as an indirect method for resale price maintenance and consequently the termination was considered to be void leading to a liability of the bicycle supplier for the damages suffered by the dealer. The Court of Appeal furthermore ordered the supplier to offer the dealer a new selective distribution contract.
Jaap van Till, Agency & distribution country Expert for Netherlands