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CCI disposes of complaint of alleged unfair business practices against Sony

Fair trade regulator CCI on Monday disposed of complaint of alleged unfair business practices against Sony India Pvt Ltd and Sony Corporation.

The ruling came on a complaint filed by Neeraj Arora on behalf of Accessories World Car Audio, a Delhi-based distributor of Sony’s car audio products.

The complainant alleged that Sony Corporation and Sony India Pvt Ltd imposed alleged unfair terms and conditions in the distributorship agreement and arbitrarily terminated the agreement.

Besides, it also levelled allegations pertaining to the issue of exclusive supply agreement, exclusive distribution agreement, refusal to deal and resale price maintenance.

As per the informant, Sony asked it to surrender sale of other brands and deal exclusively with Sony’s car audio products while allowing other distributors do deal with products of its competitors.

It further alleged that Sony was carrying illegal and unfair trade practices in collusion with its various shell companies that operated as illegal distributors and were used to infiltrate the market without any territorial restrictions and the same caused huge financial loss to the informant and completely eroded the territories assigned to it.

Sony, in connivance with Maruti Suzuki Ltd and Bharti Electronics (another distributor), allegedly actively dealt with these shell companies to do cross territory sales against the informant.

It alleged that Sony has contravened Section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act that pertains to anti-competitive agreement and abuse of dominant market position, respectively.

However, the CCI said that the market for car audio products is fragmented with the presence of number of players and competitors and no entity enjoys a significant market power.

Therefore, in absence of dominance, question of abuse of dominant position doesn’t arise.

“The Commission is of the view that no case is made out against OPs (opposite parties) for contravention of the provisions of Sections … of the Act and the Information is ordered to be closed forthwith,” the regulator said.

Opposite parties refer to Sony Corporation and Sony India Pvt Ltd.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) noted that the informant moved an application in March seeking oral hearing.

“In this regard, the Commission notes that at the stage of forming prima facie opinion, the Commission may call preliminary conference with the parties, if so required. For the reasons already mentioned for closing the matter, the Commission sees no merit in the request and the same is accordingly rejected,” CCI said.

―CNBC TV18

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