Here you will find more information on the Bundeskartellamt’s sector inquiries into consumer law issues.
In October 2017 the Consumer Protection Decision Division launched a sector inquiry into online comparison websites.
In recent years comparison websites have gained in economic importance as they are used by a large number of consumers to compare different offers. However, the increasing use of such websites poses a number of risks for consumers. In the sector inquiry a large number of comparison website operators were questioned on five topics: corporate links and cooperation, market coverage, pre-selection and ranking, the exertion of pressure and incentives, as well as reviews in order to uncover and specify possible violations of consumer law provisions.
In the first questionnaire around 150 of the best known websites from the travel, telecommunications, energy, banking services and insurance sectors were asked to provide basic information on their structures. The analysis of this information led to a first insight into market structures as well as the extent of corporate links and cooperation between the individual comparison websites. A second “sector survey” followed of almost 40 of the major independent comparison websites in the following sectors: flights, hotels, insurance, loans, telecommunications and energy.
After consultation with the economic sectors concerned, the results of the sector inquiry will be published in a report and, if necessary, recommendations for further action offered.Smart-TVs
In December 2017 the division launched another sector inquiry into smart TVs. The aim of the sector inquiry was to find out how the TV manufacturers use user data.
Smart TVs are now the most sold television sets. In contrast to conventional TVs they are connected to the Internet which not only means that viewers receive data and TV programmes but also that their user data is transmitted.
In May 2018 the division conducted its first survey, in which approx. 30 TV manufacturers were questioned. After the analysis of the first questionnaire, the conduct of the major manufacturers is to be more closely examined in a further stage of the inquiry.
The results of this sector inquiry will also be summarised in a final report.