THE SUPERIOR ECONOMIC COURT UPHELD THE DECISION OF THE AMCU CONCERNING MONOPOLY ABUSE BY MYKOLAIV REGIONAL ENTERPRISE OF BUS STATIONS
To the Mykolaiv regional department of the AMCU appealed the customer, who complained about the high and unjustified ticket price for the route “Pervomaisk – Khmelnitsky”, which she bought in Pervomaisk on the bus station, owned by PrAT Mykolaiv regional enterprise of bus stations (Mykolaiv). Thus, the applicant pointed to a significant difference in the cost of the ticket at the named traffic, which was purchased at the company’s bus station in Pervomaisk, compared with the cost of the back traffic.
Following the examination of the case, the regional department recognized the actions of the PrAT Mykolaiv regional enterprise of bus stations, which involve establishment of different advance booking service fee, depending on the travel costs without financial justification for it, as the law violation on protection of the economic competition provided by the section 2 of the second part of the 13 Law of Ukraine “On protection of the economic competition”, in the form of abuse of monopoly at the market by applying of different prices to equivalent hypothecation agreements without financial justification for it.
In addition to fines in the amount of 68,000 hryvnas, the regional department of the AMCU obliged the company to stop violations and bring the cost of the advance booking service fee to its economic justification.
On 08/11/2016, the Superior Economic Court of Ukraine upheld the decision of the administrative body of Mykolaiv regional department of the AMCU and established the following.
The court considered legitimate the conclusion on the monopoly of PrAT Mykolaiv regional enterprise of bus stations in 2014 in the territorial limits of town Pervomaysk in Mykolaiv Oblast, where the bus station at the market for advance booking in the direction Pervomaisk – Khmelnitsky is located, which belongs to the company, as its share product exceeds 35 percent, and, at the same time, it haven’t prove that undergoes significant competition at the market.
In providing the services for advance booking by the bus station, from the service-users of the bus station (passengers), depending on the trip distance and ticket price, the different cost for this service for the same level of transporting services is chargeable without objectively justified reasons. In other words, passengers (bus stations service-users) pay unreasonable cost for the advance booking service. The Court found that the regional department of the AMC required the company for details on the accounting data indicating the actual costs incurred by the company from the realization of the advance booking, but PrAT Mykolaiv regional enterprise of bus stations rejected to provide this information.
The courts state that the regional department of the AMCU is right when indicating that the advance booking service, as well as the process of the tickets realization by the bus station, reside in printing the latter on cash registers for the following distribution to the passengers. Herewith, a passenger wanting for a ticket, takes the opportunity in a period of a few days to comfortably make a decision without worries for the loss of seats in the bus at a specific date and the entity (the owner of the bus), in its turn, basically reliably receives funds for the provided services of the bus station including the bus station fee.
Thus, given the monopoly position of PrAT Mykolaiv regional enterprise of bus stations on the given market, the company must comply with the legislation on protection of the economic competition, and establish economically justified prices for their services and do not take any other actions, which can lead to the infringement of the interests of consumers of entity’s services.
All required qualifying signs of frustration of the law of the protection of the economic competition in the form of abuse of monopoly at the market are established by the Mykolaiv regional department of the AMCU.