In January of this year, a case was settled by the Danish Competitive Council which involved Danish property portal Boliga.dk.
Over 65 percent of Denmark’s real estate business, including the trade association and the six largest cooperative chains of independent estate agents, were involved in anti-competitive boycott agreements against Boliga.dk, denying the portal access to photos of property for sale on the internet.
The strategy behind this action was to completely abolish Boliga.dk from the market, so to increase the competitive power of the only other property search portal on the Danish market (Boligsiden.dk), which is controlled by the real estate business itself.
The Competition Council ordered the parties to terminate, and to abstain from any future agreements, decisions or concerted practices, which have as their direct or indirect object or effect the restriction of individual estate agents’ rights to allow Boliga.dk, or other property search portals, to show photos of their clients’ properties.
According to the Council, since the case concerned a hard core violation of Section 6 of the Danish Competition Act, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority is considering to submit the case to the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime.
Furthermore, and concurrently with the Competition Council’s decision, the Competition and Consumer Authority issued recommendations to the consumers to make sure that their property for sale is presented with a photo on Boliga.dk and other relevant property search portals when they sign a contract with an estate agent.
In February, the brokers involved in the case announced that they considered appealing the decision, on the grounds that the ruling was not fair, and that there was no such boycott agains Boliga.dk. The decision also allegedly obstructs the property industry from developing its own property portal, Boligsiden.dk.
Tim Jensen, CEO and Partner, Boliga.dk said: “At Boliga we are relieved over the decision that we have been waiting for, for a couple years.”
“It is deeply reprehensible and unacceptable to participate in jointly made illegal agreements against us. This has particularly affected the real estate agents, who would like to work with Boliga, even though their top management wouldn’t permit this. But the real losers here are the home owners who are missing out on the huge advantages a listing on Boliga creates for a faster real estate sale. Our main objective is to create total transparency in the Danish real estate market to benefit both buyers and sellers,” concluded Jensen.