Oh balls: Golf club manufacturer Ping whacked with £1.45m fine from the competition watchdog

 
Lucy White
2005 Players Championship - Round 1
Although Ping was trying to promote in-store fitting, the CMA found preventing online retail was too restrictive (Source: Getty)

Golf equipment manufacturer Ping has been clubbed with a £1.45m fine from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), for preventing two UK retailers from selling its golf clubs on their website.

Read more: Pfizer slapped with record £84.2m fine for overcharging NHS after ramping up cost by 2,600 per cent

Although this might initially sound like Ping was shooting itself in the foot, the business reasoned that it was promoting in-store custom fitting.

But this claim was hit into the long grass by the CMA which found that, although Ping was pursuing a genuine commercial aim, it could have achieved this through less restrictive means.

“The internet is an increasingly important distribution channel and retailers’ ability to sell online, and reach as wide a customer base as possible, should not be unduly restricted,” said Ann Pope, senior director for antitrust enforcement at the CMA.

Read more: Funfair Guild proposes looser rules to Competition and Markets Authority

The authority's judgement added that Ping was allowed to require a retailer to meet certain conditions before selling its products online, but it must make sure these are consistent with competition law.

The fine would likely have been higher had the authority concluded that Ping was not acting to further a genuine commercial aim.

A business can be fined up to 10 per cent of its annual worldwide group turnover for competition law infringement, with the final amount depending on factors such as the seriousness of the offence and the turnover of the relevant market.

Read more: CMA mulls competition remedy offered up for Wood Group's £2.2bn takeover of Amec Foster Wheeler

Related articles