Platform to Business Regulation (P2B) – what online platforms need to know

November 20, 2020

EU Regulation 2019/1150 (the P2B Regulation) was transposed into Irish legislation in July 2020 through S.I. No. 256 of 2020 European Union (Promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services) Regulations 2020. It is the first set of rules aimed at creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders on online platforms.

It is important that the relevant online platforms which fall within the remit of the Regulation are aware of their obligations and take steps to ensure that they are compliant. The CCPC is the designated body with responsibility for monitoring compliance with, and enforcement of, the P2B Regulation.

Who does the Regulation apply to?

The Regulation applies to two types of online providers known as online intermediation service providers (OISPs) and online search engine providers (OSEPs). OISPs use information and communication technologies to facilitate interactions (including commercial transactions) between business users and consumers. OSEPs play an important role in the commercial success of all businesses that operate websites.

Examples of OISPs and OSEPs include 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.

Why was the Regulation introduced? 

Platforms can offer easier access to cross-border markets and are crucial for the success of some businesses. The European Commission found that while the gateway position of online platforms enables them to organise millions of users, it also opens the possibility of unilateral trading practices that are harmful, and against which no effective redress is available for the businesses using these platforms.

The P2B Regulation was introduced to create a fair and transparent business environment for smaller businesses and traders with online platforms. By creating a more transparent and fairer marketplace, EU consumers will also ultimately be more protected.

What are the obligations under the Regulation

Online providers and business users need to be aware of a variety of requirements around terms and conditions, suspension or termination of services to business users, ranking of search results, and the setting up of internal complaint-handling systems by online providers.

Under the P2B Regulation, both OISPs and OSEPs have specific obligations that they must meet. For more information regarding these obligations, please visit the business resources section of our website.

What is the CCPC’s role? 

The CCPC is the body responsible for monitoring compliance with the P2B Regulation, and has the right to take action before the courts in order to stop any non-compliance by an OISP or OSEP.

Under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014, the CCPC can carry out an investigation into any suspected breach of the P2B Regulation. Should an online platform be found to have breached these provisions, the CCPC can issue Compliance Notices or begin criminal proceedings.

In addition, the Regulation requires that the CCPC establishes and maintains a register of unlawful acts that have been subject of an order before the Circuit Court or the High Court.

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