The European Commission is carrying out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the online ordering and delivery of food, groceries and other consumer goods in two Member States.
The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
Today’s inspections are conducted in the context of an investigation for which the Commission carried out inspections in 2022. The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.
The scope of the investigation, initially including alleged market allocations, has now been extended to cover additional conduct in the form of alleged no-poach agreements and exchanges of commercially sensitive information.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step toward investigating suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.
There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.
Under the Commission’s leniency programme companies that have been involved in a secret cartel may be granted immunity from fines or significant reductions in fines in return for reporting the conduct and cooperating with the Commission throughout its investigation. Individuals and companies can report cartel or other anti-competitive behaviour on an anonymous basis through the Commission’s whistle-blower tool. Further information on the Commission’s leniency programme and whistle-blower tool is available on DG Competition’s website.