Kärcher Secures Dismissal of FCA’s Retail Price Maintenance Claims

June 24, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb represented Kärcher in successfully obtaining the dismissal of the French Competition Authority’s (FCA) retail price maintenance claims against it.

On June 24, 2021, after almost 10 years of proceedings, the FCA held that Kärcher’s recommended resale prices practices did not amount to resale price maintenance.

In particular, while Kärcher sales persons regularly visited points of sale to discuss elements of sales policy, such as the location of shelves, the order proposals, product presentation, promotions, sales transactions, or the after-sales service, and occasionally asked for information about retail prices charged, there was no evidence that these visits aimed at monitoring prices or allowed Kärcher to impose coercive measures.

Additionally, the aggregated sales volume information communicated to Kärcher by retailers did not allow it to find out about sales prices effectively charged by its distributors.

Finally, the FCA followed Kärcher’s arguments that sales conditions offered by Kärcher to retailers, or its promotional policy, did not allow it to limit retailers’ own promotional activity or rebate policy.