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Samsung fined €40 million for price fixing in the Netherlands

Samsung fined €40 million for price fixing in the Netherlands
(Image credit: Samsung)

The best Samsung TVs might offer a 'crystal clear' picture, but it seems that the tech giant's pricing isn't always thus.

Samsung has just been fined a whopping €40 million for supposedly fixing the prices of its TVs in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2018. Dutch consumer watchdog ACM says Samsung set 'price recommendations', which encouraged major retailers to keep prices above market rate.

"Samsung knew it could not compel retailers to increase their prices which is why Samsung associates used the term ‘recommendations’," ACM chairman Martijn Snoep said. "But, in reality, those recommendations were neither personal nor non-binding. Samsung’s practices disrupted competition at the retail level, and resulted in higher prices for consumers."

Strong stuff. According to a dossier of evidence compiled by ACM, Samsung is thought to have gone to the trouble of monitoring retailers’ online prices and, if prices were lower than desired, contacting the retailer via email or Whatsapp to urge them to increase prices.

ACM's report is in Dutch, but in one email it appears that a Samsung representative emailed a retailer to say: "There is really no need to 'burn' money with the model. Would you like to watch this again? Advice sales Eur 799.00". The retailer replies, "Thanks for the tip."

Much like new cars, the price of the best TVs typically drops shortly after they go on sale. According to ACM, Samsung "sought to counter this process by coordinating prices with retailers", therefore protecting its own margins as well as the retailers "at the expense of the consumer".

Samsung has already said it will appeal the fine and maintained that it never forced retailers to adopt its price advice.

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Tom has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Men's Health, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile tech, electric cars and video streaming.