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Dutch regulator investigates Dutch online retailer Bol amid concerns of unfair marketplace practices | Silicon Canals


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The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), the Dutch authority responsible for consumer protection and fair competition, announced on Wednesday that it has initiated an investigation into a Dutch online retailer Bol, after receiving complaints from multiple businesses.

According to ACM, several companies have voiced concerns about their offerings receiving less visibility on the platform despite offering the best prices/ quality.

Furthermore, there are indications that Bol may be leveraging data from businesses to strengthen its position within the marketplace.

The investigation

The ACM’s investigation aims to determine whether the online platform violates any laws or regulations. 

If the ACM concludes that the Dutch platform has indeed violated the law, it may impose penalties such as fines or injunctions.

As digital markets continue to shape our society, the ACM is committed to ensuring their proper functioning. 

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Bol’s reply

In a reply to ACM’s questions, Bol says, “It goes without saying that we will fully cooperate with the ACM investigation. Our colleagues are working hard to provide the supervisor with all the necessary information to ensure the investigation runs smoothly.”

“We believe it is important that the ACM ensures that online platforms take responsibility for a reliable online environment. For us, the relationship with our sales partners is extremely important. We are always looking for ways to improve our platform and look forward to the research with confidence.” 

Launched in 1999, claims to be the largest online retail platform in the Benelux that provides books, entertainment, electronic devices, and toys for its clients. 

More than two decades later, the shop boasts 13 million active users in the Netherlands and Belgium, a 35 million-item product variety, and 52,000 sales partners that sell their goods through the platform.

ACM’s goal for 2024

One of the ACM’s strategic goals for 2024 is to stimulate an open and fair digital economy that benefits businesses and consumers based on rules that protect competition and consumer rights. 

To achieve this, the ACM is preparing to enforce various digital regulations once the legal framework is established, including the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the Digital Services Act (DSA), and the Platform-to-Business Regulation (P2B).

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