Casio Slapped With a $4.5 Million Fine for Engaging in Anti-Competitive Behavior

According to UK watchdog Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Casio apparently hasn’t played nice with other online retailers.

Now, the watchmaker has received a major fine.

The CMA has fined Casio Electronics £3.7 million ($4.5 million) – the agency’s ‘largest’ – after the company engaged in “resale price maintenance.”

Between 2013 and 2018, the company secretly implemented software designed to monitor prices online in real-time.  Without telling its resale partners, the watchmaker would monitor and force companies to comply and not discount any of its products.  In fact, Casio pushed other retailers to report on those who offered discounts against its wishes.

In a statement, Ann Pope, the CMA’s Senior Director of Antitrust Enforcement, explained,

A digital piano or keyboard can be a significant purchase, and customers should be able to shop around for a good price.  Casio’s illegal action — telling retailers not to offer their musical instruments at discounted prices — made it harder for customers to shop around for a better price and meant they risked paying over the odds.

The musical instrument market in the UK has an estimated annual value of £440 million ($535 million).  Casio generates £10 million ($12.2 million) in revenue on digital piano and keyboard sales.

The CMA reduced the sizeable fine by 20% after the company admitted to engaging in anticompetitive behavior.

Regretting the fine – though not necessarily its illegal behavior – Tim Gould, Deputy Managing Director at Casio UK, said,

After a year of uncertainty while the investigation was conducted, combined with the disruption many companies operating in the UK are experiencing due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, it’s in the best interest of our employees, suppliers, shareholders, distributors, and customers to agree [on a] settlement and return our focus to daily business.

The company said in a press release it has “changed its practices” and now “fully applies with applicable laws.”


Featured image by Casio.