SME Chamber

Complained filed with Office for Fair Competition


The Director of the Office for Fair Competition
"Office for Fair Trading"
Cannon Road,
Sta Venera,


The Director of the Office for Fair Competition
"Office for Fair Trading"
Cannon Road,
Sta Venera,


The President of the Commission for Fair Trading,
Magistrate Dr. Silvio Meli,
the Law Courts,

Date: 22nd January 2005

Further to the complaint filed on 14th January by Tabone Computer Centre
Limited, copy of which is attached below, the GRTU has been following
this case and we are informed that the company who launched the complain
only received an acknowledgment.

The GRTU is informed that next Tuesday (or before) the government is
going to announce a scheme whereby students will be able to order and
purchase HP desktop computer systems and notebooks at low prices. These
are going to be available in very large numbers. We are aware that
‘student’ schemes are not controllable.

This will distort the computer market locally for a long time while the
computer dealers will have only one choice, that of becoming an HP
dealer. Once competition and all other brands are destroyed, dealers
cannot regain market share after they loose their supply chain, their
technical people, their support people.

This is going to be of a great service to HP in order to gain a near
100% market share.

This is a Predatory Market Practice and creates Unfair Competition while
moving HP computers to a Dominant Market Position.

These 3 practices are ALL against EU Directives where actually the EU
PROHIBITS this from being done by anybody.

The Hon. Minister for IT, Dr. Austin Gatt has been reported to have
stated that this scheme will proceed.

The GRTU is hereby reporting this complaint and at the same time is
asking that your office issues an Interim Measure to suspend this
agreement between the Government and HP with immediate effect while
taking all the necessary legal actions to ensure compliance to the EU

Your office should ensure that the consumer is offered the best choice
in a free market and that there is no return to the time when all
Maltese children were forced to eat Deserta Chocolate.

It is the obligation of the government to ensure that everybody can
purchase the computer he likes, by removing all VAT and other Taxes on
these products and if necessary refunds the costs to those who do not
afford a computer. Free market forces will ensure that the prices
offered will be the lowest on the market.

Best regards,
Joe Tabone
GRTU – Senior Vice President

———— COPY OF complaint dated 14th January 2005. ———–

We would like to draw your attention that a news report carried out on
todays’s newspapers indicate that the Government will be distributing
operating systems and Hewlet Packard (HP) computers at low cost.

We hereby file a complaint to investigate if these computers will breach
any fair trading practices:
– form of subsidy
– form of exclusive marketing of a brand by the governement
– Selling below cost or dumping. Cost means purchasing price plus the
cover of the local costs, distribution expenses and warranty.

In the meantime we ask that as an interim measure, the computers will
not be distributed in any form till this case is cleared from your
department and possibly any EU DG Competition.

We hope to receive an urgent reply.

Best regards,
Joe Tabone
Managing Director

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