A Duty of Care to Prevent Online Exploitation of Consumers? Digital Dominance and Special Responsibility in EU Competition Law

21 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2019

See all articles by Wolf Sauter

Wolf Sauter

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law; Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)

Date Written: February 1, 2019

Abstract

Article 102 TFEU imposes a special responsibility on undertakings with a dominant position. Digital dominance based on data but also on network effects, platforms and first user advantage can lead to extreme inequality in bargaining positions with regard to online services, which can result in unfair treatment of competitors, suppliers and consumers – such as exploitation and discrimination. On line consumers are the focus of this article. In order to tackle competition issues regarding online consumers I propose interpreting the special responsibility of digitally dominant undertakings as a duty of care in their regard. Digitally dominant undertakings may not just be burdened by but also benefit from this approach which increases predictability and trust in online markets. Standards for triggering the duty of care as well as specific points of compliance are proposed here but remain to be specified further.

Keywords: dominance abuse; exploitation; discrimination, duty of care; digital dominance

JEL Classification: K4; L4; O3

Suggested Citation

Sauter, Wolf and Sauter, Wolf, A Duty of Care to Prevent Online Exploitation of Consumers? Digital Dominance and Special Responsibility in EU Competition Law (February 1, 2019). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2019-002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3353280

Wolf Sauter (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Netherlands

Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ( email )

PO Box 16326
2500 BH The Hague
Netherlands

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