COMPETITION • FRENCH LAW • PRICE TRANSPARENCY
A supplier may establish different general terms and conditions (GTCs) if each is aimed at a different category of potential buyer. It is good business sense to vary the terms of sale depending on whether one is dealing with a wholesaler or a small distributor, with distributors operating in different commercial areas or not exercising the same activity. The segmentation authorized by Article L. 441-1 (formerly Article L. 441-6) of the Commercial Code has the consequence that the communication obligation concerns only buyers or persons requesting the terms and conditions which belong to the same category, provided that the supplier is able to justify the criteria according to which it has defined its categories of buyers. The use of differentiated or by-category sales conditions clearly must not be abusive. This would be the case if they were drawn up for a specific brand or customer. On the other hand, according to the French trade practices review commission (Commission d’examen des pratiques commerciales) , it is possible to provide for category-specific terms and conditions even if the supplier has only one customer in that category. Similarly, the Commission accepts the application, of different category GTCs for the same group depending on whether the different entities of the group belong to different categories, for example, GTCs for large and medium-sized stores and GTCs for local convenience stores.