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Ping fined by the CMA for restricting online sales of their golfing equipment

Written by Mark Reed on 15 September 2017

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Ping had put forward a complete ban of online selling for several retail stores in the UK, however this restriction was condemned by the Competition and Markets Authority as a ‘restriction beyond what was necessary’.

The reason that the Golf-Making giant gave for installing the ban on these stores, was that they wanted to encourage sales in bricks and mortar stores. This has been due to a significant drop in sales across the country as well as footfall for custom fitting of their gold clubs.

Although considered understandable by the CMA as a strategy, this was not justifiable and comparable to their bricks and mortar stores so was beyond what was necessary. Ultimately, this decision gave the CMA the authority to impose a huge fine of £1.45 million.

The full report from the CMA hasn’t been released yet, so it will be interesting to note what their full reasoning was. It will also hopefully offer insight into what Ping and other businesses have to do in the future to ensure any online restriction are less restrictive, but equally still allow their business to act relatively autonomously when marketing their products.

There has been an increased interest as of late by both the CMA and the European Commission regarding the online selling practices of businesses, of which Advocate General Wahl has been noted as admitting in the Coty case that the law on how online sales are managed is still developing and a coherent approach is not yet apparent.

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