Commitment decision on the use of a minimum hourly fee
The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (“DCCA”) has accepted commitments offered by Happy Helper A/S (“Happy Helper”) in a case concerning the use of a minimum hourly fee between providers of regular cleaning services on Happy Helper’s digital platform www.happyhelper.dk
The Danish Competition Council (DCC”) has on the 26 august 2020 accepted to make the commitments offered by Happy Helper binding. The commitment decision has been, prior to the DCC’s decision, submitted for consultation before the European Commission.
Happy Helper is an intermediary digital platform that matches providers of regular cleaning services with buyers of this service. The providers are called “Helpers”. The minimum hourly fee appeared in Happy Helpers “General Terms and Conditions” for using the platform and the “Freelance Agreement” that the Helpers signed when they enlisted the platform. Furthermore, the platform has been advertising the minimum hourly fee directly on the website.
It is the DCCA’s assessment that both Happy Helper and the Helpers are undertakings, and that conversely the Helpers are not employees of Happy Helper from a competition law point of view. Furthermore, it is the DCCA’s assessment that the Helpers cannot be characterized as subcontractors or agents to Happy Helper. This is primarily because Happy Helper does not carry the financial risk for the Helpers work.
Furthermore, it is the DCCA’s assessment that the minimum hourly fee may have created a “price floor”, which may have limited the competition between the Helpers. It has been assessed, that Happy Helper and the Helpers have entered into an anti-competitive agreement and / or concerted practice for the sale of the Helpers services on the platform.
The DCCA has chosen to delimit the proceedings to a single party: Happy Helper. This is due to the fact, that Happy Helper has initiated the agreement and/or concerted practice by implementing the minimum hourly fee in the platform’s general terms and conditions for Helpers and buyers using the platform.
However, Happy Helper has offered commitments in order to meet the concerns expressed by the DCCA: Happy Helper has offered to remove the minimum hourly fee from the platform. Thus, the Helpers will be free to set their own prices. At the same time, Happy Helper commits to remove terms and statements about the minimum hourly fee from its website, advertisements, in collaboration with partners, applications and so forth. Happy Helper also commits to change the content of the Helpers contracts – current as well as future – so that all terms or statements about the hourly minimum fee are removed.
The DCCA finds that the offered commitments will fully meet the concerns of the DCCA.
Accordingly, the DCCA has settled the case by making the commitments binding on the involved parties of the case for an indefinite period of time.