The French Competition Council dismisses Fox Messenger complaint against La Poste

06 May 2009

Romain Ferla

On 10 June 2008, Fox Messenger, a French new entrant in the postal sector which specialises in collecting and delivery proximity mail in the non-reserved sector (over 50 grammes), complained to the Competition Council about alleged practices implemented by La Poste, aiming at excluding competitors from the “collecting and delivery” market (opened to competition). 

Fox Messenger complained that when customers wish to request Fox Messenger collect and delivery services, La Poste requires them to change slightly their postal address, adding an identification element.  Fox Messenger considered that such an obligation deters customers from changing their service provider.

On 26 February 2009, the Competition Council dismissed Fox Messenger’s complaint and its request for interim measures.  The Council considered that Fox Messenger did not establish exclusionary practices of La Poste.

The Competition Council held that, where mail is not delivered by postmen during their normal round, an additional element to the existing address is de facto necessary for collection and delivery operated either by La Poste or its competitors. Therefore, the Competition Council concluded that the requirement of an additional address element imposed by La Poste does not constitute anticompetitive behaviour.

Finally, the Competition Council considered that it would be helpful for competitors and customers for La Poste to adopt clear rules in order to explain how to subscribe to some services rendered by competitors.

According to the Competition Council, the French Postal regulator (ARCEP) is in a better position to intervene in this matter.

Source: Decision of the Competition Council No 09-D-09 of February 26, 2009, http://www.conseil-concurrence.fr/pdf/avis/09d09.pdf