In its recent decision no. 22-33/527-213 dated 21.07.2022, the Turkish Competition Board (the "TCB") has decided to impose an administrative fine on the Turkish e-scooter venture Marti Ileri Teknoloji A.S. ("Marti") in the amount of one-thousandth of its 2021 turnover on grounds of submission of incorrect and misleading information. Through this case the reasoned decision of which was published on the website of the Turkish Competition Authority (the "TCA") on 05.12.20221, the TCA has once again reminded that undertakings must be highly sensitive about the TCA's requests for information and documents.
Indeed, the case was launched following a complaint filed to the TCA on 11.09.2022 against Marti with the allegation of abuse of dominant position and exclusionary conduct, and ended on 22.12.2022 upon the TCB's decision that there was no need to take any action. However, thereafter, a lawsuit was filed before Ankara 8th Administrative Court with a request for annulment of the TCB's decision and, while the Court should have decided to conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether there was a need to launch an investigation or not, the Court did not follow this process but directly annulled the TCB's decision on the grounds that it was not lawful to pass a decision of no action. The TCB, on the other hand, launched a preliminary inquiry to enforce the annulment decision.
Within the scope of the preliminary inquiry and within the framework of the Law no. 4054 on the Protection of Competition (the "Law"), the TCB requested Marti to submit information on opening and per-minute fees of e-scooters as well as the campaigns applied. However, while such an information request was forwarded to Marti, Marti first, briefly, submitted its base prices, stating that prices varied between 2019 and 2022. In response to such submission of Marti, the rapporteurs sent an e-mail to Marti, requesting Marti to submit monthly data on periodic prices and campaign details for Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir provinces for 2019-2022 and -even if it is not possible to provide monthly prices- to provide information on campaigns. It is stated that Marti eventually submitted monthly opening and per-minute prices covering the relevant period, indicating the average discounts as well.
Eventually, the rapporteurs and the TCB compared the periodic price and campaign data provided by Marti to the user data and the visuals attached to the petition of complaint2 and eventually determined that the information submitted by Marti and the other information were not consistent. In other words, the rapporteurs made a cross-check on the information provided by Marti. In consequence of the examination conducted under articles 14 and 16 of the Law, the TCB determined that Marti "failed to submit correct price data and alleged that it had no collective data on in which period/at which location discounts were applied and on the amount of such discounts and therefore it could not provide detailed information; however, after being informed of the difference between the user data and the data provided by Marti, it submitted to the TCA the correct data in detail."
The fact that Marti eventually submitted the correct data has not been considered as a ground for not imposing a fine, and the TCB has decided to apply an administrative fine in the amount of one-thousandth of its 2021 turnover as per subparagraph (c) of the first paragraph of article 16 of the Law. The undertakings concerned have the right to apply Ankara Administrative Courts for the annulment of the mentioned TCB decision.
1. For the reasoned decision, please see: https://www.rekabet.gov.tr/Karar?kararId=03caf9e4-3835-492f-934f-37f42d46b285 (last access date: 06.12.2022)
2. The TCB's reasoned decision no. 22-33/527-213 dated 21.07.2022 includes a phone screenshot indicating the campaign notifications stating that it would not charge the e-scooter opening fee for certain customer groups.
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