Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has fined telecommunications company A1 Bulgaria 804 340 leva, or about 411 250 euro, for unfair competition practices towards one of its business partners.
CPC said that it began the investigation after receiving a complaint from Handy-Tel, which accused A1 Bulgaria of abusing its position as the stronger party in the contract to ultimately unilaterally rescind the contract.
Handy-Tel, a handset retailer, has been an authorised re-seller of A1 Bulgaria (known prior to its re-branding last year as Mobiltel and operating under the MTel brand) products since 2005 until February, when it was notified by A1 Bulgaria that its contract was being terminated.
The CPC’s ruling was heavily redacted in the sections dealing with Handy-Tel’s complaint and A1 Bulgaria’s reasoning for its decision to rescind the contract, but the regulator concluded that A1 Bulgaria acted in bad faith towards its contractual partner.
As a result of the termination of the contract, Handy-Tel was in danger of exiting the market, having lost a large part of its revenue after the termination of its exclusive partnership with A1 Bulgaria, CPC said. The fine can be appealed within a period of 14 days at the Supreme Administrative Court, the regulator said.