COMPETITION • FRENCH LAW • RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS
Free riders (passager clandestin) are economic agents who take advantage of investments previously made by their competitors to enter or develop a market. A free rider can also be characterized as a parasite, in the sense of unfair competition law, i.e. who follows in the wake of one of his competitors by taking undue advantage of investments made by the latter without incurring any expense. In the area of selective distribution, the free rider would, for example, be the non-authorized third-party “pure player” who can offer the products covered by the network at more attractive prices because it does not depend on the demonstration and advice service provided by the merchant in the store, which the buyer can obtain in any event before ordering online. Nevertheless, the competition authorities consider that the risk of parasitism created by the activity of such free riders does not constitute a legitimate justification for prohibiting online sales in selective distribution networks.