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In a ruling made in August 2018, Ofcom found that Royal Mail had used its dominant market position against Whistl, one of its biggest rivals. Then called TNT, in 2014 Whistl had sought to break into the letter-delivery business by delivering bulk mail such as bank statements, but Ofcom ruled it had had been “discriminated” against by Royal Mail.
The formerly state-owned postal monopoly, which was privatised in October 2013, appealed the decision to the Competition Appeal Tribunal. In November the tribunal ruled against Royal Mail, however, and upheld Ofcom’s decision.
At the time, the regulator said: “We found that Royal Mail pursued a deliberate strategy of pricing discrimination against Whistle, which was its only major competitor for delivering business mail.
“Royal Mail has a special responsibility to ensure its behaviour was not anti-competitive.
“We hope that our fine, which has been upheld in full by the tribunal, will ensure that Royal Mail and other powerful duties take their legal duties very seriously.”
Royal Mail said it was “disappointed” by the tribunal’s finding and that it would consider its options. And on Wednesday it confirmed that it would be fight the fine.
In a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, it said: “Royal Mail has lodged papers with the Competition Appeal Tribunal to seek permission to appeal its judgement on Royal Mail vs Office of Communications to the Court of Appeal.” It provided no further comment.
Ofcom did not immediately reply to a request for comment.