Epyx challenged by OFT over SMR market dominance
11 March 2014
Author: Jack Carfrae
SMR specialist Epyx has been challenged by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over "competition concerns".
The OFT has opened a public consultation on commitments offered by Epyx as part of its investigation, which itself was sparked by "a complaint alleging an abuse of dominant position".
The investigation is being conducted under the 1998 Competition Act.
The OFT said it was "concerned that certain provisions in Epyx's contracts may restrict its SMR platform customers - particularly those that manage vehicle fleets - from evaluating, developing, marketing and using alternative systems, and may therefore raise barriers to market entry."
Epyx responded to the OFT's move by offering the commitments, which, according to the OFT, would "relax or remove these contractual restrictions, giving Epyx's customers the freedom to work with, develop and sponsor alternative systems while also enjoying more frequent opportunities to switch supplier.
"Customers will additionally benefit from technical support from Epyx, where this is reasonably necessary to facilitate switching."
The OFT said the commitments made "clear opportunities for competitors to enter the market and provide Epyx's current customers with the option to switch to rival suppliers if they choose to."
Epyx declined to comment on the issue.
The OFT is accepting comments relating to the commitments until 5pm on 5 April. Parties wishing to contribute can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann Pope, senior director in the OFT's Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets group, said: "The OFT is consulting on whether these commitments will provide an immediate and effective means of encouraging meaningful competition in the SMR platform market in the UK.
"Under the proposed commitments, a range of existing barriers to entry should be significantly reduced and the market opened to choice and innovation.
"The OFT would now like to hear the views of all interested parties before it makes its decision on whether to accept the commitments."