An Post cleared of competition law breach over Leap Card retailer rules

An Post cleared of competition law breach over Leap Card retailer rules

An Post is unlikely to have breached competition law by only allowing retailers to sell Leap Cards if they are agents of its subsidiary PostPoint, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has concluded.

However, the CCPC made a number of recommendations followings its engagement with An Post, which the state-owned postal company has now accepted.

In 2022, the National Transport Authority awarded a new contract for the provision of Leap Card services to Cubic Transportation, who in turn gave an exclusive subcontract to An Post for the retail supply of Leap Card services.

Under this subcontract, An Post provides a service that allows consumers to purchase and top up their Leap Cards in-store in retail outlets.

Under the terms of An Post’s new arrangement, retailers can only provide Leap Card services if they are agents of PostPoint, a subsidiary of An Post, and only on the terminals supplied by An Post.

The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, a representative body of retailers, raised concerns regarding the amount of commission they would receive for Leap Card transactions processed in their stores under the terms of the new arrangement and, in March 2023, submitted a complaint to the CCPC.

The complainants also expressed concerns around the costs of the application process to become a PostPoint agent and claimed that the terms and conditions requested by An Post were not fair to retailers.

As An Post has an exclusive contract with Cubic Transportation for the retail supply of Leap Card services, the complaint alleged that An Post could be abusing a dominant position.

The complainants were also concerned about the terms and conditions regarding the payment of a refundable deposit for the terminals provided by An Post to retailers to be used for topping up Leap Cards.

“The CCPC conducted an assessment and, based on the information available to it, has found that it is unlikely that there has been a competition law breach in this instance,” the regulator said.

“However, the CCPC engaged with An Post regarding the terms and conditions applied with regards to the payment of a deposit by the retailers to An Post for the use of terminals provided. The CCPC enquired whether An Post’s terms and conditions regarding the availability of a deposit waiver are applied in a transparent and consistent manner.”

An Post subsequently agreed to the following CCPC recommendations:

  1. An Post will review and revise their PostPoint application and terms and conditions documentation to make it clear that retailers may apply for a deposit waiver and explain the criteria considered by An Post in relation to same.
  2. An Post will complete this review and ensure resources are available for any potential follow-up requests from retailers for deposit waivers by 15 January 2024.
  3. An Post’s deposit waiver process will allow for retailers to request a deposit waiver after the payment of a deposit. An Post will process any such request in the same manner as an initial deposit waiver request. Waivers granted will be reviewed on a periodic basis.
  4. Retailers may request a second terminal and this request will be assessed based on a business case submitted with the request, which will be primarily linked to the demonstration of high numbers of transactions at one premises necessitating a second terminal. This may be subject to the availability of resources at the time of application.
  5. In the event that a retailer’s application is rejected (either for a deposit waiver or additional terminal), An Post will communicate the reasons why to the applicant with reference to An Post’s assessment criteria.

The CCPC has now completed its assessment and decided that it will not open an investigation at this time. The CCPC now considers these complaints to be closed.

Share icon
Share this article: