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Computicket abused market dominance via exclusive contracts

South African ticketing site Computicket has again been found guilty of abusing its market dominance by imposing exclusive agreements on its clients.

The Namibian Competition Commission, the country’s competition regulator, found in a preliminary investigation that the ticketing firm engaged in anticompetitive behaviour between 2011 and 2016, namely forcing event organisers and venue operators into exclusive agreements.

Computicket also reportedly engaged in price discrimination, the commission claims, through selling a product or service at varying prices to different customers.

It has also been accused of bundling, which arises where two products or services are offered together with no option to buy the products or services separately, despite the products being distinct and separate.

The commission stated, according to Namibia Economist: “Computicket is appointed as the sole provider of the ticketing services for the duration of its agreements with clients (3-5 years).

“This means that Computicket’s clients are therefore prohibited from using any other service provider for the duration of the agreement with Computicket. Conversely, Computicket’s competitors are prevented from being able to offer their services to these clients.”

The commission’s preliminary findings could lead to a conference with the ticketing firm before a final determination can be made regarding whether or not it will refer the matter to the High Court for remedial action as prescribed in the country’s Competition Act.

In January this year, Computicket was ordered to pay a fine of SAR 20m (£1.1m/€1.3m/$1.4m) for anticompetitive behaviour. The SA Competition Tribunal found the firm had abused its market dominance between 2005 and 2010, following its use of long-term exclusive agreements to exclude new firms from the distribution market.