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HP NZ asks Commerce Commission to authorise engagement in resale price maintenance

23 Mar 2021

The Commerce Commission has announced that HP New Zealand (HP) is seeking an authorisation application from the business watchdog. HP’s request, if granted, would allow the vendor to engage in resale price maintenance (RPM) in relation to its proposed arrangements for its HP online store and prospective HP online marketplace stores.

HP’s parent company, HP Inc., is a manufacturer of HP-branded technology products including desktop computers, notebooks, printers and related accessories and supplies. HP imports, distributes and supplies HP products in New Zealand through its network of distributors, retail channel partners and resellers for resupply to consumers and business customers. HP does not currently sell directly to consumers in New Zealand. 

HP’s proposed arrangements involve HP supplying HP products to a third-party distributor, which will on-sell direct to customers and receive payments from customers through HP’s new e-commerce platform. The third-party distributor will also be responsible for the physical supply of HP products to customers purchasing from the HP online store, or future HP online marketplace stores. 

The conduct for which HP seeks authorisation involves HP controlling product and marketing strategies and, in particular, specifying the prices for which the third party will sell the HP products to consumers. This will only apply to products sold through the HP online store or future HP online marketplace stores.

A public version of the authorisation application will be available shortly on the Commission’s case register, the watchdog says.

It comes almost a year after the vendor announced its ‘largest product launch ever’ in New Zealand, where it released 15 new additions to its range of PCs, desktops monitors and mobile workstations.

HP NZ launched new versions of its Elitebook laptops, its Elitedesk desktop computers, its ZBook workstations, and its E-Series monitors. 

“As we experience a new normal that blurs reality between life and work, it’s clear that the PC is essential – allowing us to work, live, learn, collaborate, and create regardless of distance,” said HP New Zealand personal systems category manager Scott Leman at the time of the announcement.

“Today’s line-up of innovative products, our largest commercial product launch ever, reinforces HP’s commitment to equipping workers with the right tools, power, and performance for the ultimate work from home experience.”

The products were all launched into the New Zealand market between July and September of last year, with HP focusing on making remote working more efficient as the world stayed home due to COVID-19 restrictions.