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Consumer watchdog in price protection probe

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14:28 CEST+02:00

Switzerland's Federal Competition Commission (COMCO) is investigating several companies that have allegedly used questionable tactics to work around the strong Swiss franc.

Jura Elektroapparate AG, the well-known coffee machine maker, is suspected of having attempted to restrict ‘parallel imports’ of its household appliances and electrical equipment from foreign countries.

Some consumers have complained to COMCO that the manufacturer has refused to repair their appliances when bought online or outside Switzerland, even when still under warranty, reported the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

Beauty product manufacturer Care on Skin is also under investigation for its online sales to specialist resellers. The owner of a chain of beauty salons reported that she has been pressed by the company not to buy its products abroad or over the internet.

A preliminary investigation concerning possible restrictions on parallel imports of balcony glass has been underway since September 2011. Investigations have been opened in recent days into allegations of peculiarities concerning taxes and resale prices for electrical appliances and electric bikes.
  
“The investigations underway are just the beginning of a series of several procedures that will be opened in the coming weeks and months,” the commission said in a statement on Thursday.

In the upcoming weeks, competition authorities will start investigating sports gear brands including Adidas and Nike. According to some consumers, these brands are preventing them from buying their products online in other countries.

Sporting good retailers have complained that acquisition prices in Switzerland are higher than the retail prices in stores right across the border.

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