Yemeksepeti.com is fined, will others follow?
Yemeksepeti.com is the biggest online food delivery platform in Turkey. Recently the company was sold for a staggering $589 million.
Last week the company was fined with 427,977 Turkish Liras by the Turkish Competition Board.
The board concluded the preliminary inquiry conducted about the claims that Yemek Sepeti Elektronik İletişim Tanıtım Pazarlama Gıda San. ve Tic. A.Ş. prevented its customers from working with its competitors, thus violating the previous decisions of the Competition Board.
After discussing the information, documents and findings acquired in the preliminary inquiry in its meeting on March 18, 2015, the board considered that the findings were significant and sufficient, and took the decision numbered 15-12/161-M that an investigation should be initiated into Yemeksepeti.com. As it is known, Article 4 of Act No: 4054 prohibits agreements and concerted practices between undertakings which restrict competition, while Article 6 prohibits the abuse of a dominant position. The investigation was initiated to establish whether the said undertaking violated the articles by means of most favored customer clauses and de facto exclusivity practices.
According to Bora İlker LLM, “Yemeksepeti’s most favored customer clauses meant the platform abused its dominant market position. These clauses discourage restaurants from offering lower prices in any other online food ordering medium. The Yemeksepeti decision is a milestone in Turkish competition law since it is the first time the board has recognized the exclusionary effects of most favored customer clauses. Such clauses are effectively price protection mechanisms within supply contracts. Their overall effect is that the seller cannot offer a lower price to other customers, without also offering the same lower price to the contracting customer.”
The two competitors who gave testimonials to the court were Bol Bol Gıda A.Ş. executive Faruk Kayabaşı and Hakan İmay from Grand Fast Food. They both claimed that Yemeksepeti.com forced restaurants not to enter into deals with them. Also, they both said that Yemeksepeti.com made it impossible for restaurants to give deals similar to those that restaurants can give at Yemeksepeti.com.
I just hope that Yemeksepeti.com will respect competition laws from now on. After all, we all loved it because it was born out of competitiveness.
Booking.com has a similar file against it.
I am sure that Biletix will have a file against it very shortly.
Let’s wait and see how the Turkish Competition Board will affect e-businesses in Turkey.