Platform to Business Regulations

The P2B Regulations came into effect in Ireland, on the 24th July 2020. The purpose of the P2B Regulations is to provide a set of rules which creates a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders on online platforms. It also allows for effective redress possibilities. The ambition is that by protecting EU businesses, ultimately EU consumers will be protected through a more transparent and fairer marketplace.

The CCPC is responsible for monitoring compliance with the P2B Regulations. The CCPC can also carry out an investigation into suspected breaches of these Regulations, and issue a Compliance Notice or begin criminal proceedings, if breaches have occurred.

The P2B Regulations apply to two categories of online provider:

  • Online intermediation service providers (“OISP”);
  • Online search engine providers (“OSEP”).

This includes online marketplaces, social media and creative content outlets, application distribution platforms, price comparison websites, platforms for the collaborative economy as well as online general search engines.

The P2B Regulations place a range of new requirements on OISPs and OSEPs.

For OISPs, these requirements include;

  • All terms and conditions should be written in plain and intelligible language. Business users should be informed of any changes in a durable medium e.g. email or in writing, and are entitled to a reasonable notice period of a minimum of 15 days (or shorter if agreed with business user).
  • A business user is required to be given an explanation as to why individual products/services are restricted/suspended by a platform. If this occurs, a statement on the reasons must be given 30 days in advance.
  • The terms and conditions should set out the main parameters determining the ranking of search results and the reasons for the relative importance of those parameters, compared to others. Search engines are also required to provide a description of these parameters.
  • The platform must set out in its terms and conditions, a description of the type of ancillary goods and services offered and whether business users are allowed to offer their own.
  • If online platforms give differentiated treatment to their own products and services, then this must be detailed in the terms and conditions. Search engines are also required to provide details of any such differentiated treatment applied by them.
  • In order to ensure that contracts are conducted in good faith, there are requirements on platforms in relation to retrospective changes to terms and conditions, contract termination and data retention.
  • Online platforms must provide in their terms and conditions, a description of the data that can be generated and accessed through their services and under what conditions.
  • The terms and conditions provided must detail any restriction on business users from offering different conditions outside the relevant platform including economic, commercial or legal considerations for those restrictions.
  • Online platforms are required to set up an internal complaint handling mechanism and out of court dispute handling mechanism. Representative organisations or associations will be able to take legal action on behalf of business users against breaches of the P2B Regulations.

For OSEPs, the two requirements include;

  • The terms and conditions should set out the main parameters determining the ranking of search results and the reasons for the relative importance of those parameters, compared to others. Search engines are also required to provide a description of these parameters.
  • If online platforms give differentiated treatment to their own products and services, then this must be detailed in the terms and conditions. Search engines are also required to provide details of any such differentiated treatment applied by them.

Further information on the P2B Regulations including practical guidance is available on the European Commission’s website here.

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