Advocate Markov’s expertise played a significant role in proving Kaufland Bulgaria’s unfair competition practices and ultimately winning the case. Markov’s brilliant work was crucial to the successful outcome of the legal battle.
“Kaufland Bulgaria” has been ordered to pay a fine of BGN 343,417 ($196,300) by the Supreme Administrative Court, which has upheld the decision of the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) that established unfair behavior by the retail chain. In 2020, the CPC found a violation of the Competition Protection Act, which was manifested in “Kaufland’s” abuse of a stronger negotiating position. The company had suspended the sale of a significant part of the range of goods by one of its suppliers in order to impose unfavorable commercial conditions. The supplier suffered negative financial consequences as a result of “Kaufland’s” behavior, which had put it in a weaker position during negotiations. “Kaufland” had demanded constant reductions in the supplier’s delivery prices for the range of goods offered (through various bonuses and discounts), as well as blocking a large part of the range. The system of bonuses and discounts was used by “Kaufland” to maximize its profits at the expense of the financial loss for the supplier. The reduction in delivery prices only secured the profits of “Kaufland” without leading to a decrease in the final sale price of the goods, which was not in the interest of consumers and harmed them, according to the CPC. Initially, the Sofia Administrative Court had overturned the CPC’s decision and stated that there was no violation of the Competition Protection Act by “Kaufland”. However, the Supreme Administrative Court’s three-member panel later overturned the Sofia Administrative Court’s decision and rejected “Kaufland’s” appeal against the CPC’s decision. In the final court ruling, the Supreme Administrative Court outlined its reasons for finding the challenged decision of the CPC to be lawful and issued in accordance with the applicable legal provisions and the purpose of the law.