Office of Fair Trading looks into potential breach of competition rules
The pricing of ebooks is to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading after it received a "significant number of complaints".
An OFT spokesperson was not able to give specific details of the complaints, but a statement confirmed that the investigation concerned a potential breach of competition rules.
Specifically, the OFT said that "arrangements that certain publishers have put in place with some retailers for the sale of ebooks" may be in breach of competition rules.
The specific part of the law being cited is the Competition Act 1998, which prohibits practices that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK. Agreements such as those between a publisher and a retailer to artificially fix the price of ebooks could potentially be in breach of competition regulations.
The OFT investigation suggests that ebook prices are being kept artificially high in some cases and that there are "arrangements" between "certain publishers" and "some retailers".
Speaking to Computeractive, an OFT spokesperson was unable to comment on any specific details and emphasised that the investigation "is at an early stage" and that "it should not be assumed that the parties involved have breached competition law".
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