GAUTING - Court action: giropay vs. sofortüberweisung.de / DIRECTebanking.com - Federal Cartel Office (FCO) submits its opinion: banks’ standard terms violate antitrust law
The FCO recently submitted its legal opinion to the Cologne District Court on the court action of giropay against Payment Network AG. The FCO says its initial antitrust concerns have been confirmed during the course of its investigation. So far the FCO takes the view that the banks’ standard terms are void insofar as they foreclose the market for independent payment messenger services.
“The standard terms had been targeted at sofortüberweisung.de / DIRECTebanking.com and provided the basis for giropay’s court action – sofortüberweisung.de was supposed to be excluded from the market. We see our legal opinion confirmed by the FCO”, says Payment Network’s CFO Dr. Jens Lütcke, “giropay’s attempt to monopolise the market via the banks’ standard terms will fail.”
The Court action brought by giropay against Payment Network AG triggered an antitrust investigation by the FCO. giropay filed its suit against Payment Network AG in January 2010 based on allegations of unfair competition and accused Payment Network of violating the banks’ standard terms by operating its independent instant payment service sofortüberweisung.de / DIRECTEbanking.com. The Cologne District Court suspended proceedings after the FCO announced its investigation in October of 2010 (see press release of 15 October 2010 “Judgement postponed due to involvement of Federal Cartel Office”).
“For Payment Network, it has been clear from the outset that this Court action only serves to attack our successful business model. This attempt misfired”, notes Payment Network’s CFO. “Several studies have confirmed that sofortüberweisung.de / DIRECTEbanking.com is the leading service provider. The e-commerce 2010 study by EuPD Research found sofortüberweisung.de to be the most widely-used online payment system. We would like to thank all of our partners (retailers, associations and payment service providers) for their support.”
More than 17,000 e-commerce businesses, both nationally and internationally, rely on the payment system “sofortüberweisung.de / DIRECTebanking.com”, among them many international retailers and brands such as KLM, Hugo Boss, real-onlineshop.de, Schlecker, Conrad Electronic, Plus Online, flyeralarm, redcoon, cyberport, Media Markt, Emirates, bild.de, ATU, Dell, notebooksbilliger.de, Rossmann, Baur Versand, MyToys, AIDA and babywalz. Other than Germany, sofortüberweisung.de / DIRECTebanking.com is also available in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.
Payment Network AG Georg Schardt Vorstand, 089/2020889-112 firstname.lastname@example.org