Commission to set guidelines for digital platforms, prices

Commission to set guidelines for digital platforms, prices

The Trade Competition Commission is preparing to issue guidelines for digital platform businesses and recommended pricing after observing an increase in unfair practices.

Somsak Kiatchailak, vice-chairman of the commission, said it recently ordered a study to develop guidelines for fair trade practices for digital platforms.

Online trade is expanding and the rules aim to prevent exploitation of customers and vendors in product sales, he said.

The commission received persistent complaints about certain platforms imposing unfair conditions on businesses, hindering fair competition, said Mr Somsak.

He said the commission is drafting the guidelines and soliciting input from stakeholders before submitting them for approval to the commission.

"In previous years, traders on online platforms could choose which delivery services to use to send their products to buyers. However, some platforms later imposed conditions requiring product delivery via specific courier companies designated by the platforms," said Mr Somsak.

"This inconvenience affected some traders, as failure to use recommended couriers hampered the ability to sell their products on these platforms."

He said another complaint was once products were searched for on search engines and platforms, these searches were expected to randomly present options to consumers.

However, certain stores made special agreements or payments to platform owners so that their shops would be listed first, said Mr Somsak.

Many vendors were unaware of these agreements, which sometimes leads to searches not displaying their stores, limiting their ability to sell products. This situation hinders fair competition among businesses, he said.

These issues indicate equitable operating conditions need to be established, while ensuring platforms provide clear disclosure terms, said Mr Somsak.

Raksagecha Chaechai, a commissioner with the Trade Competition Commission, said the regulator also plans to develop guidelines to set recommended sales prices to prevent unfair trade practices and profiteering.

Most businesses can determine their own sales prices, but they cannot impose additional conditions on trading partners, such as withholding product delivery if conditions are not met.

This kind of behaviour is considered unfair competition, according to the commission.

The commission prepared a preliminary draft of these guidelines and is seeking feedback before finalising and presenting them for approval, he said.

According to a source with knowledge of the regulations who asked for anonymity, some agricultural products are currently subject to recommended sales prices.

Vendors are required to adhere to these prices and failure to comply can lead to pressure or negative consequences, said the source.

Certain car firms were found to require their dealers to sell at fixed recommended prices, even for older models.

The firms threatened to block future supply of vehicles if dealers fail to comply with this requirement, said the source.

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